Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 - Regional Conference for Geriatrics and Gerontology
Elderly men without a partner find it much easier than partnered men to manage money, and prepare meals, according to new research from the University of Queensland.

On the other hand, they find it more difficult to do heavy housework, and put their trousers on.

These are some of the findings from a fascinating study into the challenges faced by men and women aged 80 and over as they try to live active and healthy lives.

Deirdre McLaughlin, Research Fellow at the University of Queensland’s School of Population Health will discuss findings today at the Regional Conference of Gerontology and Geriatrics in Melbourne.

Dr McLaughlin says: “Increasing life expectancy has created new challenges not only for older men and women but also for health professionals as they try to achieve active ageing.”

Her study is one of the first to investigate the effect of how gender and the presence of a partner affects active living in older people.

“According to our research, women overall find it easier to go about their daily lives whether they have a partner or not,” she says.

The study draws on data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health and the Health in Men Study.

More than 70% of men were partnered compared with 30% of women. Women reported a higher prevalence of osteoporosis, arthritis, asthma, heart disease and high blood pressure while men had a higher prevalence of stroke. There were no differences in the prevalence of diabetes.

According to Dr McLaughlin, women found it surprisingly more difficult to shop and do housework than partnered men.

“This is ironic given that these are traditionally female activities,” she says,

The research has been carried out as part of the Men, Women and Ageing project at the University of Queensland and is funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia/ Australian Research Council award.

The study contradicts previous research which did not take marital status into account and which found that women reported greater difficulty overall with daily activities.

Contact Profile

Penny Underwood

P: 03 9818 8540
M: 040 99 252 99
W: www.aging2011.com

Keywords

Ageing conference, Melbourne, Older people and partners, Deirdre McLaughlin

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