Social activities lower depression in elderly

London, May 4 (IANS) Older adults suffering with dementia who indulged in a high-intensity functional exercise programme and group activity showed reduced levels of depressive symptoms, a new study has found.

“Unfortunately, depression is common among older people, especially in people with dementia,” said led author Gustaf Bostrom, doctoral student at the Umea University’s Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation in Sweden.

The team investigated whether 45 minutes of high-intensity exercise, every other weekday for four months, had a better effect on depressive symptoms than a seated group activity, performed with the same duration and frequency, in older people with dementia.

The findings showed reduction in high levels of depressive symptoms in both groups.

But, exercise showed no superior effect on depression.

Also, the study suggested a connection between impaired balance, general dependency in activities of daily living — in transfer and dressing — and depression in older age.

“The link between impaired balance, dependency in transfer or dressing, and depression is an important finding and may be the subject of future studies focusing on prevention or treatment of depression among people in older age,” Bostrom said, in his dissertation.

The elderly with dementia or people over the age of 85 had an increased risk of death with ongoing treatment with anti-depressants.

Further, the study involving 392 participants revealed that women had a higher mortality risk with anti-depressant use in comparison to men, the researchers concluded.

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