A new study by researchers at Simon Fraser University explored the impact of consumers’ daily habits on their risk of developing dementia. According to their findings, older consumers can reduce their risk of developing the disease by regularly participating in a variety of different activities.
“The results of our study show that the risk of developing dementia can be reduced through a combination of active daily activities, such as using a computer and playing on words,” said researcher Sylvain Moreno. “Scientists believed genetics to be the main factor influencing cognitive health, but our results show the opposite. As you age, your choice of daily activities is more important than your current genetics or cognitive skills.
Keep your mind active
For the study, researchers analyzed data from more than 3,200 participants aged 65 to 89 who were enrolled in the National Institute on Aging’s Health and Retirement Study. Participants answered questions about how often they performed a wide range of activities, including baking, playing cards, visiting loved ones, or exercising, among others. The team took this information and fed it into a modeling system to understand how these activities impacted participants’ cognitive health.
The study found that more diverse activities led to better cognitive health in the long run. Participants who were consistently active in several different areas had a lower risk of developing dementia. Staying active with hobbies, socializing with family and friends, and getting light exercise can help older consumers stay mentally alert.
In the future, researchers hope these findings will influence how healthcare providers treat their elderly patients.
“Today, around 55 million people suffer from dementia and that number will almost triple by 2050 with an aging population,” Moreno said. “The care of patients with dementia is difficult, labor intensive and chronic, resulting in high costs to healthcare systems. ”