Being Sociable Helps Brain Health As We Age

According to a recent report by the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), staying socially engaged with a wide circle of friends and family may help us maintain our thinking skills and slow cognitive decline as we age.

The Brain and Social Connectedness report shows how important social connections are to brain health. It addresses the social benefits of having pets, the role that age-friendly communities play in fostering social ties, and how close relationships promote both physical health and psychological well-being. The report also covers how social media like Facebook and Skype helps older adults maintain their social connections.

The report supports findings from a new AARP consumer survey, including the following:

Nearly 4 in 10 adults age 40-plus say they lack social connections and report worse brain health.

About 37 percent of adults over 40 say they sometimes or often lack companionship; 35 percent find it hard to engage socially; and 29 percent feel isolated from others. This is particularly true for adults without a spouse/partner and for those aged 50-59. In fact, adults who experience loneliness and isolation have significantly smaller social networks and lower mental well-being scores.

Adults who are dissatisfied with their level of social engagement are significantly more likely to report a decrease in their cognitive functioning in the previous five years.

Adults say their social relationships encourage them to try new things and take better care of their health. This is especially true for African Americans/Blacks and Hispanics/Latinos.

Almost all adults 40 and over say that having a purpose in life is important.

Here are a few suggestions to help older adults improve their social involvement:

  • Cultivate social connections with people of different ages, including younger people
  • Join a club or take a class to meet new people
  • Visit, call, or email regularly with relatives, friends and neighbors
  • Volunteer, or visit a lonely neighbor or friend

At Optiminds, we love to work with your brain. If you are looking for ways to keep your brain healthy, Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math, cognitive skills and memory of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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