Strong Social Ties Reduce Seniors' Risk of Dementia
WebMD News Archive
Additionally, the risk of dementia was higher among participants who
reported poor relationships with their children than among those who did not
have children, the study showed.
The new findings "suggest that [social] networks may be protective
[against dementia] because of the social engagement and satisfaction they
provide," Lisa F. Berkman, PhD, of the Harvard School of Public Health in
Boston, writes in an editorial accompanying the study. "Social engagement
probably challenges people to communicate effectively and to participate in
complex interpersonal exchanges."
"Intuitively, the findings make a lot of sense," Neil Buckholtz,
PhD, chief of the dementias and aging branch of the National Institute on Aging
in Bethesda, Md., tells WebMD. "Keeping active and engaging in the world
should be helpful in terms of keeping cognitive function going."
For families who are dealing with caring for an elderly loved one with
dementia, David A. Olson, MD, a behavioral neurologist at Georgia Regional
Hospital in Atlanta and a medical advisor to WebMD, advises finding day
"They may also want to intensively investigate the daily activity
schedules of nursing homes when deciding on the appropriate placement for their
relatives requiring institutional settings," he says.
- New research shows that elderly patients with a limited social network have
a 60% greater risk of developing dementia, or age-related memory loss.
- This evidence supports the theory that emotional and intellectual
stimulation can delay the onset of dementia.
- One researcher suggests that opting for home care over institutions for the
elderly may result in older people becoming isolated.