Recession Dealing a Blow to Health of Seniors and Caregivers Alike | Macomb, MI

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On November 6, 2014, Posted by , In Caregivers, By ,, , With Comments Off on Recession Dealing a Blow to Health of Seniors and Caregivers Alike | Macomb, MI

As the recession endures and mortgage delinquency rates climb, seniors may have more to worry about than their dwindling nest eggs. According to recently published research, the economic downturn may be having a negative impact on the health of elderly people and their baby boomer caregivers.

A team of scientists from the University of Maryland has discovered that mortgage delinquency, a symptom of the recession, increases a senior’s risk for depression, and, in some cases, forces them to choose between paying the bills and paying for food or prescription medication.

The study took advantage of results from a larger investigation, the Health and Retirement Study, conducted on people aged older than 50 years. Researchers asked seniors participating in that study to indicate whether or not they missed any mortgage payments between the years 2006 and 2008.

32% of elderly people who had trouble paying their mortgage said that they also couldn’t keep up with their prescription medication regimens. Researchers also found that 22% of the mortgage delinquent respondents had symptoms of depression.

Why such a strong connection between mortgage default and poor health?

Dawn Alley, lead researcher and assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says that the study doesn’t point to one specific reason, but that default can negatively impact health in number of different ways. “Stress, nutrition deficits, and limited access to medical care may exacerbate existing health conditions in vulnerable older adults.”

Alley also addresses the effect of the ongoing recession on senior health. She says that there were 78,000 defaults in the month of August. Figures like these have raised concern among the academic community that the unhealthy effect of foreclosure may be increasing among the elderly.

But, according to Alley, current research is highlighting the growth of a different, but no less disturbing problem. “The good news is that other research has shown that adults over 65 may be less affected, but we are very concerned about, baby boomers, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet amid rising unemployment.”

The study was published in the October 20th issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
Source: agingcare.com

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