Maintaining an active social life can become more difficult as we age. But did you know that staying social is a key component in avoiding the isolation and loneliness that often occurs in older adults? According to a study published in the Neurology journal, having an active social life can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's Disease.
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This study found that the 500 aging adults that were tested had healthy social lives and handled stress well, but had a 50 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. The study found similar risk reduction in those who were socially active and managed stress well when compared to socially active participants who did not. This appears to show that being social and managing stress well can help reduce cognitive decline in seniors.
While further studies and research are still on going, these promising findings point towards controllable factors that might help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Having friends with whom you can share your joys and sorrows, exchange advice and celebrate with during your special days provides you with the social support you need. Being socially active can also help seniors, stay physically and mentally active, which are both important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Engaging in physical activities with your friends including exercise can lower your stress level and decrease isolation that can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
According to a study conducted by a team of researchers from Duke University and Johns Hopkins, men who engaged in social and mentally stimulating activities during their midlife years had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease later in life.
So whether it is taking a yoga class with friends or going for morning walks with a neighbor, regular exercise and social interaction are good in maintaining an active and healthy senior lifestyle.
Being socially active is not only a great way to manage stress but it is also a wonderful way to enjoy the company of good friends while trying to fend off Alzheimer’s.
Staying socially active could mean participating in daily activities at a local senior center, signing up for continuing education classes with friends or spending more time with family members. Any type of activity that involves social interaction is a good start towards creating a social support group that assists in reducing stress, engaging in mentally stimulating activities and being more physically active.
Some seniors are social butterflies by nature, which makes it easier for them to incorporate more social activities into their schedule. However, others may find it more difficult to come out of their shell and work to increase social engagements. Adults who are not naturally outgoing but would like to take steps to become more social in an effort to ward off the loss of cognitive function should consider joining a book club or garden club. These social activities are good for seniors who are not accustomed to abundant social interaction or who have become somewhat isolated as they have aged.
We cannot control all of the factors that could be linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease. However, we can make lifestyle changes that are beneficial in maintaining cognitive function. By staying physically fit, engaging in mentally stimulating activities and staying socially active, you can reduce your risk of having Alzheimer’s Disease.
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