– EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Social activities like dinner parties could help ward off memory loss in later life, according to a new study.
A team from Canada’s University of Alberta have identified factors for maintaining healthy memory and avoiding decline in those over 55 years old.
After analysing data from a long-term study of adults in Edmonton, Alberta they found that those without memory problems were more likely to be female, well educated, and engage activities like hosting a dinner party. Other recommendations included learning a second language and using computers.
Psychology Professor Peggy McFall, the study’s lead author, said: “We found different risk factors for stable memory and for rapidly declining memory. It may be possible to use these factors to improve outcomes for older adults.”
Dr. McFall and her colleague Professor Roger Dixon used machine learning to analyse the data – and found that the benefits of engaging in social activities didn’t just stop with maintaining a healthy memory. Those between the ages of 55 and 75 with good memories also tended to have a lower heart rate and fewer depressive symptoms.
Dr. McFall hopes that her research may help design strategies to combat common conditions that affect our memory like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
“These modifiable risk and protective factors may be converted to potential intervention targets for the dual purpose of promoting healthy memory ageing or preventing or delaying accelerated decline, impairment, and perhaps dementia,” she commented, suggesting clinicians target at-risk groups such as men who aren’t mobile, and get them to take on cognitively improving social or educational activities.