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04 May 2021

Women who read newspapers and men that use a mobile phone less likely to develop dementia

Women, but not men, who regularly read a newspaper are 35 per cent less at risk of dementia than the rest of the population. Men however, are 36 per cent less at risk of dementia if they regularly use a mobile phone. The same protection was not seen for women. 

Analysis also revealed married people who participate in a pastime or hobby are 30 per cent less at risk of dementia.

Author of the study, Pamela Almeida-Meza, a PhD student at UCL, says: “In the fight against dementia, it has been well established that certain modifiable risk factors such as cardiovascular health and depression management are essential for prevention.”

“However, our new findings contribute to the evidence showing that in addition to this, we can provide our brains with the ability to tolerate damage while retaining function by choosing to engage in an enjoyable lifestyle.”

“Most importantly, our research was carried out in individuals aged 50 years and older, showing that it is never too late to finish that book, re-visit our hobbies, or even start practising a new skill.”

Researchers investigated the role a range of activities played on dementia risk by following more than 8,000 over-50s for up to 15 years. They looked at 13 leisure activities and their influence — six were deemed to be 'intellectual' and included hobbies, reading the paper, using a mobile phone, and being online.

Seven were considered 'social' and included such things as being a member of a sports club, going on holiday, socialising with friends, and volunteering. 

The majority of the participants (70 per cent) said they regularly do between two and four intellectual activities. Just three per cent of the participants reported no engagement in any intellectual leisure activities and four per cent said they did all six activities.

Ms Almeida-Meza said that doing more activities increased a person's protection. For each additional activity the risk of dementia dropped by nine per cent. 

The thirteen activities

1. reading newspapers 
2. having a hobby or pastime 
3. using a mobile phone 
4. using the internet or email 
5. attending art or music groups 
6. cultural engagement

1. membership to sports clubs
2. church groups
3. looking after others (e.g., grandchildren) 
4. belonging to political or union group, neighbourhood group, environmental group, or any other organization 
5. engaging with charitable associations and/or volunteering 
6. belonging to a social club and/or meeting with friends 
7. taking holidays in the UK, holidays abroad and/or day trips

At every Coate Care home there is a designated Activities Coordinator who designs a bespoke programme of activities for the residents based on their individual preferences and requirements.

In the morning our staff might get the residents moving using seated physical activities and through the day residents can participate in things like musical bingo, gardening, baking, flower-arranging and needlework, whilst professional musicians or scheduled film nights provide light entertainment.

Outings are an important part of the activities programme and wheelchair-friendly minibuses mean that no-one is left at home, whether it’s for a picnic around a lake, a visit to the garden centre or a meal at the local pub.

To find out more call our Welcome Team on 01793 821200.

Download a copy of one of our home brochures.

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