Depression and Anxiety Tied To Physical Disabilities in Seniors

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Depression and Anxiety Tied To Physical Disabilities in Seniors

With the holidays a few weeks behind us, the geriatric population can experience a greater sense of anxiety and depression at the start of the new year, more so than any other time throughout the year. Seniors with psychological distress are more likely to have physical disabilities, a new Australian study says.

"Routine physical activity can protect against these problems," says Netrali Patel, M.D., board certified in Family Medicine and specializing in Geriatric Medicine, affiliated with Bayshore Community Hospital, part of Meridian Health.

Researchers examined data from nearly 100,000 Australian men and women, aged 65 and older, and found that 8.4 percent of them were experiencing psychological distress. Compared to those with no psychological distress, the risk of physical disability was more than four times higher among those with any level of psychological distress and nearly seven times higher among those with moderate levels. The researchers also found that seniors who were more physically active were less likely to have physical disabilities.

"The findings can absolutely influence the emphasis that we place on older adults to remain active," says Dr. Patel. "I always tell my older patients that if they're not sure about becoming active or boosting their level of physical activity because they are afraid of getting hurt, the good news is that moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, are generally safe for most people. Doing at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity on more than five days each week is an appropriate way for older adult to be active.

Seniors should also engage in muscle strengthening, flexibility and balance training. Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age."

Dr. Patel welcomes patients to her primary location at 213 Main Street, Matawan, NJ 07747. For additional information call (732) 566-2363.

About Bayshore Community Hospital
As an affiliated hospital of the Meridian Health System, Bayshore Community Hospital is located in Holmdel, NJ. Bayshore serves a wide geographic area encompassing towns in both Middlesex and Monmouth counties. Bayshore is a 211-bed acute care hospital that offers a wide array of services, including: emergency medicine, cardiac catheterization, surgical services, wound care, sleep services, diagnostic imaging, women's services with digital mammography, as well as a designated primary stroke center. Bayshore Community Hospital's newly developed Center for Bariatrics is one of the most comprehensive in the region offering free informational sessions, pre-surgical education and evaluation, personal guidance through the surgical process, nutritional support, exercise components and support groups. For more information visit