Socializing and Cognitive Decline

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Older adults are always encouraged to do crossword puzzles and other mentally challenging tasks to slow down the progression of cognitive decline. Now experts are proposing a different approach socializing. Dr. Edward Hill tells us about a recent study on the subject in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Spending time with friends may be just as important as doing crossword puzzles for keeping your brain at its peak.

Researchers have found that such socialization could play an important role in keeping seniors mental health stable for as long as possible.

Frequent social activities, such as dining with friends, doing volunteer work, participating in groups or attending religious services, may help reduce the rate of cognitive decline as you age, according to research from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

Additionally, this method is a lot more fun and not perceived as a strenuous exercise by seniors.

In a study of more than 1,000 adults with a mean age of 80, those who were most active showed one-fourth the rate of cognitive decline compared with those who had the lightest social calendars. The study was published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

Although the experts arent sure what the relationship is between social activity and brain function, they suggest conversations may keep neural networks functioning.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.