A recent report from the United Health Foundation shows in the past six years, physical inactivity among those 65 and older has decreased by 18% in Louisiana.  United Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rhonda Randall says the study indicates that now only 31.5% of that older group in Louisiana now say they are physically inactive.

“When we started looking at this report, 38.5% of seniors who live in Louisiana told us, ‘I get no physical a day except for my activities of daily living,” said Randall.

Louisiana is not following national trends as many other states are flat or on the increase.

Randall says in Louisiana, hospice care use has increased by 20% over the past five years.  There are also more in home health workers.

“Lousiana is ranked 11th this year in that measure.  That means there is greater availability of individuals who are specially trained to help people live in there homes longer.  That’s terrific to see,” said Randall.

Randall notes that there is a 43% increase in depression over the last six years.  While the study doesn’t show the exact reason, there is a correlation of those seniors with chronic illnesses as well as there are many activities in a senior’s lifestyle that have shown links to increased depression.

“Seniors who are using alcohol, who are physically inactive, who are smokers, who are living in poverty, or have less number of years of education have a tendency to have higher rates of depression,” said Randall.