Researchers say that seniors who undergo various surgical procedures are more likely to return to prior mobility levels and maintain active living than those who are hospitalized for other reasons.
A study published by the University of Alabama found that functional ability was regained by most seniors within a year of having surgery, but those who were treated for pneumonia or other conditions didn't return to prior levels, even after two years.
"The difference may be caused by the presence of increased expectations of recovery and increased motivation in patients presenting for surgery, said Dr Cynthia Brown.
"Patients who undergo surgery expect their medical condition to be fixed and thus to be able to function as well as or better than before."
The authors also argue that while there is an expectation of improvement with surgical procedures, no such measure is included for normal illness care in seniors.
There is a concern, according to the study, that limited mobility may reduce social interactions, which have been linked by earlier research to a decline in senior health.