Preventing Loneliness May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

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It’s 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 JAMA Psychiatry. 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 higher levels 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. 

Based on this information, doctors could start examining seniors’ mental health for changes on a regular basis. Consider taking the following steps to engage your 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. 

If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of elderly home care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

Spending Time with Other Seniors

Encourage your 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 center. 

Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care service. Rhode Island families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Staying Active in the Community

Your loved one doesn’t 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’ll 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’s beneficial for his or her emotional and physical wellbeing. 

For families living in Rhode Island, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home. To create a customized care plan for your loved one, call us at (401) 284-0979 today. 


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