The risk of dementia increases by 30% if you live in your 50s and 60s alone because isolation takes a much higher toll than previously thought
- In a study by University College London, 21,666 people over the age of 55 were interviewed
- The authors warned that more and more older people are living alone
- Loneliness, stress and lack of cognitive stimulation could be factors in the increase
Living in the fifties and sixties alone increases the risk of developing dementia by a third, according to a study.
Loneliness and social isolation, according to studies at University College London, have a much greater impact on the condition than previously thought.
Data from 21,666 over 55 year olds showed that people living alone were 30 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, which may be a greater factor than physical inactivity, diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure.
The authors warned that with increasing numbers of older people living alone, dementia could increase. There are already 850,000 people affected in the UK and it is the largest cause of death in the country.
Researchers at University College London have found that the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's in people living alone can be up to 30 percent higher in the 1950s and 1960s (archive picture)
The main author Dr. Roopal Desai said: "People living alone may experience more loneliness or more stress … or lack the cognitive stimulation needed to maintain neuronal connections."
The researchers combined the results of 12 existing studies in seven countries in Europe and Asia. They concluded that completely eliminating social isolation would result in an 8.9 percent decrease in the number of dementia cases.
The lead author Dr. Georgina Charlesworth said: "It is important for our wellbeing to find ways to remain cognitively, socially and physically active and to reduce the risk of dementia."
Previous studies have shown that active social life and reunion with friends or family every day help reduce the risk of dementia.
Strategies such as social prescription, in which people are referred to community groups, have recently been disrupted by the virus lock.
The lead researcher at the UCL study, Dr. Roopal Desai said loneliness, stress, and a lack of cognitive stimulation could be factors in the increased risk (file photo)
Fiona Carragher of the Alzheimer's Association that funded the study said: “Research like this is crucial to understanding how we can reduce the risk of dementia.
We can now take action to reduce our risk, e.g. B. Keeping us physically, mentally and socially active, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding smoking. "
Age UK's Caroline Abrahams added: “The final months of locking and shielding have been particularly difficult for the elderly, especially those who live alone. We will have to do much more so that they can live safely and well among us. This applies all the more to people who age with dementia. & # 39;
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