Healthy Cognitive Aging and Leisure Activities Among the Oldest Old in Japan: Takashima Study

Department of Public Health, College of Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97401, USA.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (Impact Factor: 5.42). 12/2008; 63(11):1193-200. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/63.11.1193
Source: PubMed


Little is known regarding the normative levels of leisure activities among the oldest old and the factors that explain the age-associated decline in these activities.
The sample included 303 cognitively intact community-dwelling elderly persons with no disability in Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and minimal dependency in Instrumental ADL (IADL) in Shiga prefecture, Japan. We examined (i) the nature and frequency of leisure activities, comparing the oldest old versus younger age groups; (ii) factors that explain the age-associated differences in frequencies of engagement in these activities; and (iii) domain-specific cognitive functions associated with these activities, using three summary index scores: physical and nonphysical hobby indexes and social activity index.
The oldest old (85 years old or older) showed significantly lower frequency scores in all activity indexes, compared with the youngest old (age 65-74 years). Gait speed or overall mobility consistently explained the age-associated reduction in levels of activities among the oldest old, whereas vision or hearing impairment and depressive symptoms explained only the decline in social activity. Frequency of engagement in nonphysical hobbies was significantly associated with all cognitive domains examined.
Knowing the factors that explain age-associated decline in leisure activities can help in planning strategies for maintaining activity levels among elderly persons.

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Available from: Hiroko Hayama Dodge,
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    • "Based on the benefits of leisure participation in the lives of older adults, some researchers have explored how different leisure activities have influenced the health of older adults (Chen & Fu, 2011; Dodge et al., 2008; Everard, Lack, Fisher, & Baum, 2000). Everard and his colleagues discovered that in later life, physical leisure activities such as gardening, walking, and exercising, were associated with increased physical health, while less physical activities such as social or telephone conversations were associated with improved mental health. "
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