Dementia Prevention: The Role of Community

Worldwide there are 50 million people living with dementia, which means not a day goes by where we don’t hear or see something about Alzheimer’s and dementia. But where do you turn? And what role does your local community play? On today’s show, we speak to Beth Mansell, with the SAGE Senior’s Association in Edmonton, as she shares thoughts on the role of community in this process.

More and more research is showing that meaningful social interaction has great benefits toward lowering our risk of dementia and even reducing symptoms for those already struggling with the diagnosis. With statistics on dementia continuing to rise and no sign of a cure on the horizon, it’s apparent that our communities have a large burden sitting on their shoulders. What’s encouraging is this: here is a treatment option that doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription or tons of money to access – increase your degree of community engagement!

Notice a keyword in the above said “meaningful”. It’s our emotional ties that motivate our degree of engagement and the stronger the tie, the more meaningful the interaction and the largest impact on our cognitive health (2). Further research also demonstrates that face-to-face engagement (even via technology) “exercises key areas of the brain and positively influences other major risk factors of dementia” (1)(3).

Remaining connected to your community truly can help reduce your risk of dementia. So – forge those relationships! Get out of the house every day and talk to people you know. Attend that monthly potluck or book club. Hail an Uber and go to church on Sunday morning. Call your grandchildren – or better yet, Facetime them! Just 30 minutes of daily face-to-face conversation with family or friends can make measurable improvements to our cognitive function.

Join us on Life With Dementiathe solution-driven podcast, sharing relevant research, personal stories, and practical tips for living well with dementia.

Listen to our episode with Beth Mansell at SAGE Senior’s Association, about this very topic: the role of community in dementia prevention.

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Show notes:
SAGE Seniors Association www.mysage.ca
Sources:

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352873715000025 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK83766/   
  3. http://alzheimer.ca/en/Home/About-dementia/What-is-dementia/Dementia-numbers
  4. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures
  5. https://www.alz.co.uk/research/statistics

Photo Credit: Joshua Rawson-Harris

Music Credit: Blue Dot Sessions “OneEightFour”

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