Researchers in Japan interviewed seniors (hovering around 67 years of age) regarding their protein intake, either animal or plant, and evaluated their functional abilities measured in social, intellectual, and physical activity spheres. You can read a summary of their findings here.
Men in the highest quartile of animal protein (but not plant) had a 39% decreased chance of significant functional decline compared to those in the lowest quartile. The same pattern was not observed in women in the Japanese study.
Coincidentally, another study was published recently in which elderly women went through a randomized clinical trial concerning diet and disability. 100 women “in retirement” were randomized to receive (or not) about 5 ounces of lean red meat in addition to their usual food. All women participated in progressive resistance training, and the women eating meat (who were consuming slightly more protein overall), experienced greater gains in muscle mass as well as a 16% greater reduction (some reduction happens with any resistance exercise) in a blood marker for inflammation.
So, repeating myself, yes I’ll have some grass-fed red meat, gently cooked, for at least one meal today. And lift something heavy.