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Can Preventing Loneliness Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease?

By Manpreet Dhalla, 9:00 am on

It is commonly believed socializing is beneficial for a senior’s mental and emotional health. Researchers with the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston studied the link between Alzheimer’s and loneliness and published their findings in the November 2nd, 2016 issue of The JAMA Network Journals. They found seniors who isolate themselves may be exhibiting the first signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The study looked at 89 seniors who lived in the Boston area and found those who reported feeling lonely had a higher level of amyloid in their brains. 

Many scientists believe the buildup of amyloid in the brain causes Alzheimer’s. This protein causes blood vessels to stick together and inhibits signals from clearly passing through them. According to researchers, seniors who reported feeling lonely were more likely to have amyloid in their brains. Based on this information, doctors could start examining seniors’ mental health for changes on a regular basis. Ft. Lauderdale Alzheimer’s care experts suggest taking the following steps to engage a senior loved one in social activities.

Connecting with Family

While the sample size for this study was small and its findings need further confirmation, concerned family members can take important steps to prevent a loved one from feeling lonely and isolated. Invite your loved one to family activities and events. Even if your loved one cannot actively participate in some of the more physical activities, he or she can enjoy the company.

Spending Time with Other Seniors

Encourage your elderly loved one to stay active with his or her own set of friends. If your loved one has recently moved, encourage him or her to find other seniors to spend time with. In smaller communities, the local café is often a great spot to meet other seniors, while in larger communities, seniors often congregate at the local senior citizen’s center.

Staying Active in the Community

Your loved one does not need to restrict him or herself to spending time with other seniors. Some seniors find retirement is a wonderful time to head back to college to take classes they will enjoy. Seniors can also volunteer at nonprofit organizations. There are many opportunities to stay active in every community.

With support from family and caregivers, your loved one can lead a socially active lifestyle that is beneficial for his or her emotional and physical wellbeing. If your loved one needs more support to lead an active life, call Home Care Assistance, a top provider of elder care Ft. Lauderdale families can count on. We provide live-in and respite caregivers who can encourage your loved one to socialize regularly in addition to helping him or her with daily tasks around the house. To learn more about our in-home care services, call (954) 909-0370 to speak with a qualified Care Manager.