I think for those of us in the Senior Care area, it comes as no surprise that people who use their brains often stay mentally alert longer than those who do not. We deal with people well over 75 years of age most every day and we find almost without exception, people who are creative, social and involved will stay healthier longer.
This article from Sunrise Senior Living backs up what we already knew:
“Research Exploring Arts and Crafts and Alzheimer’s Prevention
In a 2015 study published in Neurology magazine, researchers looked at ways to prevent cognitive impairment among the fastest-growing demographic of people in the United States. That is, adults aged 85 and older.
Here’s a quick look at the project, which was supported by the National Institute on Aging, the Mayo Foundation for Medical, and the Rochester Epidemiology 53 Project.
- There were 256 participants with an average age of 87.
- Participants were considered to have good cognitive health at the start of the study.
- Over four years, participants documented their engagement in creative arts such as painting, drawing, sculpting, pottery, woodworking, quilting, and other similar arts and crafts activities.
- Participants also logged time spent engaged in socializing (e.g., trips to the movies with friends, book clubs), researching online, and traveling.
By the study’s conclusion, there were several noticeable patterns:
- 121 participants developed mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
- Those who engaged in art projects in both middle and old age were 73 percent less likely to develop MCI than peers who did not.
- Participants who engaged in craft-style projects in middle and old age were 45 percent less likely to develop MCI.
- Participants who spent time socializing in middle and old age were 55 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who spent more time alone or were isolated.
- Computer users had a 53 percent reduced risk of MCI.
While it’s only one study, it’s one in a growing number that seem to indicate that protecting your brain means continuing to learn new things, tackle original projects, and stay engaged in the world around you.”
It’s no coincidence that some people decline quickly after they retire. While that’s certainly not true for everyone, those people who have been used to the challenge of work, versus using their minds for creativity, often fall apart when the working stops.
So even if you are very busy already, start looking into project and groups that hold your interest, keep you social and involved, and it’s a good chance you will have a much better quality of life.