Manitoba seniors are staying physically healthy longer, but their mental health may be worsening, a massive study of health data by the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) at the University of Manitoba has find. It found that seniors are living longer, experiencing fewer heart attacks or strokes, and staying longer in the community that is, in a private home or retirement residence, not an institution such as a personal care home.

Diagnosed anxiety disorder

On average, at age 65, men can expect to live outside an institution until age 82, and women until age 85, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Dan Chateau, assistant professor of community health sciences at the Max Rady College of Medicine in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. However, about one-third of seniors in the study were diagnose; so with a mood or anxiety disorder (including depression) during the 10-year period, and the rate increase.

The prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders increase significantly, Chateau note; so except in the Northern Health Region, where it was significantly lower than in the rest of Manitoba and didn’t change. It may be that the rate isn’t truly increasing, and what’s changing is that with less stigma surrounding mental health; so more seniors are seeking help.

The study, The Health Status of Community-Dwelling Older Adults in Manitoba; so use the Manitoba Population Research Data Repository at MCHP to examine the de-identify (anonymous) health records of seniors in three age groups: 65-74, 75-84 and 85-plus. It also look at seniors’ self report health status according to the Canadian Community Health Survey. One finding from that data was; so that older Manitobans’ feelings of stress increase over the study period.

Seniors visit specialists

The project by Chateau’s team, document in a 262-page report; so is the first to paint a comprehensive picture of the health status and health care use of community dwelling Manitoba seniors. Researchers analyze more than 50 health indicators; so ranging from how often seniors visit specialists to their rates of hip replacement surgeries.

The findings will help health-care planners meet the needs of seniors a population that is swelling. By the year 2036, the study says, there are expect to be more than 300,000 seniors in the province; so making up 18.4 per cent of the population. The researchers use postal codes to compare seniors’ health according to income. Income is a major social determinant of health, Chateau said. It’s an important lens through which to assess differences in health status and plan health-care delivery.

The lower a senior’s income, the more likely they were to be hospitalize. Lower income Manitoba seniors had a higher prevalence of coronary artery disease, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and hip fracture; also higher rates of mental health conditions. Lower-income seniors were dispense, on average, a greater number of prescription drugs. And the lower a senior’s income, the less likely they were to obtain a flu shot, although the shots are free.