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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The social lives of the elderly mirror how they grow older

"Small changes in the social lives of older people are early red flags showing that their thought processes and brain functioning could be on the decline. This is according to Ashwin Kotwal of Brigham and Women's Hospital in the US, who led a study¹ in the Journal of General Internal Medicine², published by Springer.
Data from the National Social Life Health and Aging Project (NSHAP)³ was analyzed. This nationally representative survey included 3,310 people between 62 and 90 years old still living in their communities. Respondents were screened for early evidence of cognitive decline, and they were categorized into three groups: those having normal brain functioning, those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and those suffering from dementia. Participants were questioned about the density and size of their social networks, the support they receive from others, the amount of social strain they experience, and their attendance at community events. They were also asked with whom they discussed important matters and how much they socialized with family and friends."