Natural history of social participation in the very old: Findings from the Newcastle 85+ study
Rantakokko, Merja; Duncan, Rachel; Robinson, Louise; Wilkie, Ross (2020)
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Objective: To describe the natural history of social participation in people aged 85 years and over. Methods: Prospective cohort study; Newcastle 85+ study. Data were collected at baseline (n = 850) and at 18-, 36- and 60-month follow-ups (n = 344). Participation in 19 social activities (e.g. playing bingo, doing volunteer work and watching television) was measured at each time point. Results: The mean number of activities reported at baseline was 8.7 (SD 2.6). The number of activities was higher in those with higher educational attainment and intact walking ability (both p < .001). Social participation decreased significantly over time (p < .001) and at a similar rate in both sexes and for those with/without limited walking ability but at a higher rate in those with higher than lower educational attainment (p = .019). Discussion: Social participation seems to decrease significantly between ages 85 and 90 years; ways of encouraging social participation in this age group are needed.