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Stay Sharp by Staying Social

Remaining social in later life can be a key to fighting dementia. Seniors who keep up a social lifestyle have a 70 percent reduction in their rate of cognitive (mental) decline, compared to their less social peers, according to a Rush University Medical Center study. But, with less friends nearby, and increasing health concerns, we know it can be easy for older adults to fall into a less involved and isolated lifestyle. Fortunately, there are small steps that can be taken to help seniors remain social. Here are a few ways to make sure your loved one stays social as he or she ages:

  • Find volunteer opportunities for him or her in the community.

  • Get your loved one involved with a local senior center. North Idaho has a vibrant and active senior center in each of the larger towns and cities.

  • Help your loved one join a group focused on activities he or she enjoys, such as playing cards or a book club.

  • Taking a cooking, pottery, or language class is a great way to interact and make new friends.

  • Joining a gym or fitness center can help the senior stay both physically and socially active. (This should be cleared with the senior's physician!)

It works! Studies show that staying active in a community can help seniors protect against mental decline and dementia. Here are a few findings:

  • The Seattle Longitudinal studies and MacArthur study suggest social activity increases cognitive functions and wards off the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

  • In a study testing over 6,000 seniors across about 5 1/2 years, seniors having frequent social engagement had a slower decline in intellectual and memory abilities. Good mental capacity was maintained best in those people who were the most socially active.

  • The American Journal of Psychiatric Health published a study that showed social support helps protect against dementia.

All caregivers at AAging Better are committed to enriching the lives of seniors with activities to enhance social engagement. Our experienced nurses and caregivers work hard to help keep seniors and the disabled connected and can provide transportation assistance and care --from 2 hours per week to 24 hours-a-day.

If your loved one is located in the North Idaho area, contact AAging Better In-Home Care at any time to learn more about how our services can help keep loved ones healthier, happier and more active in their communities.

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