Women struggle more than men with day-to-day tasks in old age due to the physical toll of all the housework they did when younger, new research suggests.
Researchers studied the ways that elderly people cope with tasks such as lifting heavy shopping bags, climbing stairs and cooking.
Over-70-year old women had more difficulty performing simple mental and physical tasks. The study, based on data from more than 60,000 people, suggested this is because of the ‘socio-economic disadvantage’ women suffered in the 20th century.
Researchers noted many women in the study – who were all born before 1960 – did not enter the workforce or higher education.
New research shows that women struggle with daily tasks in their old age more than men due to the physical impact of the chores they performed when younger. [File photo]
Instead, they were required to do ‘domestic and unpaid labour’ such as household chores.
The University College London study said such manual labour ‘exposed them to health risks that can lead to disability’ and reduce the ability to live independently in old age. The study found that there has been a decrease in the difference between women and men in their ability to perform daily tasks in recent decades.
Lead author Mikaela Bloomberg said: ‘It appears that gender inequalities in the ability to carry out daily tasks at older age are decreasing over time. This could be explained by the fact that women have better access to education and are more likely to enter the paid labour force in recent generations.’
She added that the range of physical capabilities between older men and women ‘might be partly due to sex differences in body composition such as body mass and skeletal muscle’. Data from 34,000 women and more than 27,000 men between the ages of 50 and 100 were included in this study. It was conducted in England and Ireland.
The participants were evaluated on their ability to complete daily tasks and physical capacity. Mobility problems included the ability to lift heavy objects, reach for groceries, and extend one’s arms.
They were required to do ‘domestic and unpaid labour’ such as household chores. The University College London study said such manual labour ‘exposed them to health risks that can lead to disability’ and reduce the ability to live independently in old age [File photo]
The authors of the study, published in The Lancet, concluded: ‘Women are more likely to be limited than men in carrying out daily tasks from age 70. We observed women were more likely to be limited in mobility activities from age 50 onward.’
After research revealed this week that chores like ironing, vacuuming and washing up are key factors in maintaining your health into old age, it is now possible to do them.
According to a study by an international team, over-65s who housework a lot have higher physical and mental strength as well as greater fall protection.
According to research, clutter in the home can make it easier for dementia patients to do daily chores like making tea.
Experts believe a clean environment can help those with severe dementia. However, people less severely affected may be able to handle a little more clutter.
Researchers from University of East Anglia asked 65 people with dementia at different stages to perform daily tasks in various environments.
Professor Eneida Mioshi said it is ‘really important to know how people with dementia can be best supported at home’.