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Gerontology deputy director discusses seniors and mobility as part of WDET report

October 16, 2013

WDET's Martina Guzman explored the challenges facing seniors as they face reduced mobility and independence. Lack of mobility is one of the key factors in isolation within the aging population. Seclusion puts older adults at greater risk for developing depression. According to the Center for disease control, the 65 and older population accounts for 15 percent of the nation's suicides, the highest rate among any age group. But if staying active can be a challenge for young people, it's especially challenging if you're older, have body aches or a debilitating illnesses. Cathy Lysack, deputy director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, says seniors have to keep moving no matter how old they are. "Most older adults think, 'oh, I'm too weak, it's bad for me.' The opposite is true, even women with significant arthritis will benefit with less fatigue and less pain if they exercise. Lysack says that failing to exercise or avoiding exercise not only affects seniors physically it also affects their ability to think clearly or rationally. "You may not be able to drive a car, it's a complex skill. And when that happens your social environment shrinks very quickly. If you don't have the resources and people to offset that, you're at risk for isolation socially and that's bad for older people."