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E. How the Elderly can Overpower Functional Decline

Narrator: This is Science Today. A large amount of the frail elderly population is living on their own in the community. Mary Haan, director of the Center for Aging and Health at the University of California, Davis says because of this, the prevention of functional decline is very important.

Haan: They may develop all kinds of chronic diseases, but what really matters is how that affects their daily life. Can they still get out and walk around? Can they meet with their friends, can they go shopping, can they drive, can they get out of bed, can they get dressed? All of those kinds of issues, because even a person who's sick can still have a life.

Narrator: Haan says there are many ways to prevent functional decline, including weight lifting.

Haan: It's hard to think of a person in their seventies being a weight lifter, but in fact weight lifting and other kinds of resistance exercise training are very good ways of maintaining function in older people and it's fun.

Narrator: And preventing functional decline in the elderly will lessen the necessity for full-time nursing home care. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.