Social engagement reduces depression in older dementia patients

  • IANS, London
  • Updated: May 04, 2016 13:31 IST
The elderly with dementia or people over the age of 85 have an increased risk of death with ongoing treatment with anti-depressants, finds a new study. (Shutterstock)

Engaging in social activities can lower the symptoms of depression in elderly people suffering from dementia, finds a new study.

“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.

Read: Steady depression may lead to dementia in old age: Study

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.

Read: Reliving good old times can help you fight depression, anxiety

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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