According to a study recently conducted, the functional ability of older people has become better compared to that of older people three decades ago. The Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland conducted a study in which the physical and cognitive performance of the elderly between the ages of 75 and 80 was compared with that of the same-aged people in the 1990s.
Professor Tiana Rantanen, the principal investigator of the study, said that “Performance-based measurements describe how older people manage in their daily life, and at the same time, the measurements reflect one’s functional age.
The walking speed, reasoning, verbal fluency, working memory, reaction speed, and muscle strength of people between the ages of 75 and 80 nowadays are much better than people of the same age born in the 1990s. However, lung function test differences between cohorts were not observed.
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Higher physical activity and increased body size explained the better walking speed and muscle strength among the later-born cohort. Whereas the most important underlying factor behind the cohort differences in cognitive performance was longer education.doctoral student Kaisa Koivunen
The research revealed that today’s older people between 75 and 80 years old born have lived in a more different world than their counterparts born three decades ago. The advancement in technology and science has improved the functional ability of older people. These advancements include improvements in health care and the school system, better nutrition, and improved working life.
The results of the study suggest that there is a correlation between increased life expectancy and an increased number of years lived with good functional ability. This study was carried out at the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences and Gerontology Research Center at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, and funded by the Academy of Finland and the European Research Council.