Researchers have been studying Alzheimer’s disease for several years now. While there may be several factors that cause seniors to develop the condition, an article published in the November 2nd, 2016, issue of JAMA Psychiatry suggests there is a link between loneliness and Alzheimer’s. Omaha Alzheimer’s care professionals share the findings of the study.
The research, which was carried out in Boston, Massachusetts, looked at a group of 89 seniors who had an average age of 76. Even after accounting for other factors such as education and income, the seniors who were socially isolated were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Researchers claim the sample was not very diverse and more research needs to be completed before the findings can be confirmed and treatment plans modified.
Researchers with the Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found seniors with high levels of amyloid in the cortex of their brains were 7.5 times more likely to report feeling lonely on standardized psychological tests. In some cases, the seniors could be surrounded by activity and still feel lonely. Doctors believe that when the amyloid clumps together, it can lead to Alzheimer’s because normally the brain is usually able to eliminate this protein.
One effect of the research is that doctors are likely to begin looking for changes in the ways seniors behave much sooner. They may watch for telltale signs such as a senior sharing he or she is lonely. Doctors may also try to determine if a senior is becoming apathetic about things he or she used to care about deeply.
Until further research is carried out, it is important to keep your senior loved one as involved in life as possible. Days spent all alone can drag by slowly. Try keeping your loved one involved with people, whether it’s with family, friends, or a support group for seniors.
If you need help keeping your loved one active and involved in social activities, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading name in senior home care Omaha families can count on. In addition to helping your loved one carry out daily tasks such as meal prep and bathing, our caregivers are trained in our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which staves off cognitive decline by providing mental and social stimulation to your loved one. We are also a leading provider of specialized Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia care. Contact (402) 249-0204 to schedule a free consultation with a Care Manager.