Reuters Health Information; By Carolyn Crist, December 28, 2017

For Older people, getting out of the house regularly may contribute to a longer life – and the effect is independent of medical problems or mobility issues, according to recent research in Israel.  For study participants in their 70s, 80s and 90s, the frequency with which they left the house predicted how likely they were to make it to the next age milestone, researchers reported November 22, 2017 online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“The simple act of getting out of the house every day propels people into engagement with the world,” said lead author Dr. Jeremy Jacobs of Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem in a phone interview.  “We saw similar benefits that you’d expect from treating blood pressure or cholesterol with medicine,” Jacobs said. “Social factors are important in the process of aging.”  Jacobs and colleagues analyzed data on 3,375 adults at ages 70, 78, 85 and 90 who were participating in the Jerusalem Longitudinal Study.

“We included people who had mobility difficulties, so this isn’t just about people moving their legs up and down,” Jacobs said. “That’s quite exciting. There’s something about interacting with the world outside that helps.”

Researchers are interested in finding ways to encourage adults to leave their home more and to develop systems that help them do that, said Dawn Mackey of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, who wasn’t involved in the study.  “It may be helpful for older adults and their caregivers to make plans to go out of the house more often,” she told Reuters Health by email. “And try to build up to going out of the house every day.  ”They could plan these outings with these questions:  When will it work best for me to leave the house?  Where do I want to go?  Is there someone to go out with or to meet when I am out?  What are my options if the weather is bad or if I’m not feeling well one day?

“The wellbeing of our older adults is of paramount importance for public health and economic viability,” she said. “Going out of the house is an important way to maintain mobility and social engagement and ward off loneliness.”

Reuters Health Information © 2017  Cite this article: Leaving the House Linked to Longevity in Older Adults – Medscape – Dec 26, 2017.