The Power of Socialization
The Covid-19 pandemic has had many negative side effects, one of the most common being isolation. Isolation and the feeling of loneliness play a huge role in brain health. It is more important now than ever before to stay connected to family, friends, and your community. The following is an excerpt from our Brain Longevity Therapy Training Power of Socialization module on arpf.com.
Isolation’s damaging impact on health is exceedingly well documented in medical research. In fact, it has even been suggested as one of the biggest public health issues of our time, on par with smoking and obesity, as it has clear connections to increased mortality risk and a litany of chronic diseases. And it’s not just physical isolation—such as living alone or lacking a social network—that appears in the literature. Perceived isolation, or the subjective feeling of loneliness, is also linked to a host of medical issues.
In older adults, isolation’s effects are particularly deleterious. For decades, study after study has consistently proven a robust association between isolation and cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. In one oft-cited cohort study, elderly participants with no social connections were 2.37 times more likely to experience cognitive decline compared with their counterparts who had five to six connections. In another, risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease was more than double in those who felt lonely. Studies even conclude that loneliness can spike levels of Interleukin-6, an inflammatory factor implicated in a multitude of age-related disorders, including Alzheimer’s. And the data goes on.
There is a silver lining in these scary stats and facts, and it’s what the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation has long known: social engagement throughout later life can prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.
Whether it’s connecting with nature or connecting with others, research has shown that socialization plays a major factor in the prevention of age-related cognitive decline. Some prevention-based examples include Sangat (company and fellowship), communing with nature, classes and group activities, among others.
If you would like more information on keeping your brain healthy during times of immense stress and isolation– all while living a lifestyle that is highly successful in preventing Alzheimer’s– please join our BLTT program at arpf.com. It is offered to professionals to enhance their careers and also to individuals who want to have the best brain possible. Everyone can use this information for their own good and for the sake of their loved ones.
“Evidence strongly supports the value of social engagement, mental stimulation, and regular fitness practices in adding quality to life as we age. At Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI) at the University of Texas Medical Branch and other OLLIs and lifelong learning programs across the U.S. and elsewhere, aging individuals experience the benefits of participating in a widely diverse array of learning and fitness activities while forming strong bonds with peers in a supportive, welcoming community.
Such lifestyle choices add years to life, but more importantly, they add quality to those years of life.”
– Michelle Sierpina, PhD