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Social isolation has always been a challenge for older adults, but the COVID-19 pandemic exasperated this problem. A recent study following 2,000 participants over 10 years completed by NYU researchers explored how loneliness increased the risk of dementia over 3x for people over 80, even when they were otherwise at low risk. Loneliness also resulted in poor executive functioning.
With the right intervention, loneliness can be managed and ultimately delay the onset of cognitive impairments, according to lead researcher Dr. Joel Salinas.
“This study is a reminder that, if we want to prioritize brain health, we can’t ignore the role of psychosocial factors like loneliness and the social environments we live in day-to-day. Sometimes, the best way to take care of ourselves and the people we love is simply to regularly reach out and check in—to acknowledge and be acknowledged.”- Dr. Salinas to NYULangone Health NewsHub
Together Senior Health is combating isolation and loneliness through connecting older adults in our Moving Together and Brain Health programs to prevent cognitive decline.