Social activity with friends has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia by 12%.
By Dawn Flemming
Have you ever wondered why some people get dementia and Alzheimer’s and others don’t? There are many factors that play into it, which include age, genes, diet, exercise and so on. But few people have looked at the critical role that social activity may have on reducing the risk for developing dementia.
More and more research is showing that social interaction and general socializing can help reduce the risk of mental and memory decline.
According to Andrew Sommerlad, Ph.D., from the Division of Psychiatry at University College London in the UK, the research
This is not just a short-term effect, but these conclusions are made after a 28-year follow up!
The research included over 10, 000 people between the ages of 35-55 from 1985-1988 to 2017. In this study, it was found that a more frequent interaction with friends (and not relatives) reduced the risk of dementia by 12%.
This was compared to people who saw one or two friends once every few months!
Dr. Sommerlands conclusions were impressive:
[W]e've found that social contact in middle age and late life appears to lower the risk of dementia. This finding could feed into strategies to reduce everyone's risk of developing dementia, adding yet another reason to promote connected communities and find ways to reduce isolation and loneliness."
As we age, our circle of friends become more and more important yet more precarious. For all ages, it is important to cultivate a network of strong friendships as they directly correlate with our cognitive health.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.