Social activities offer protection against cognitive decline in long-term care residents

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Social activities such as interactions with others and participation in organised events can prevent cognitive decline in long-term care facility. Research from Amsterdam UMC, carried out among 3600 patients in 42 Dutch and Belgian care homes, shows that participation in social activities offers a protective effect for those with no, or little, cognitive impairment. These results are published today in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease

Cognitive decline in long-term care residents is relatively common, a Canadian study showed that almost a quarter of residents cognitively declined after a year of residency. So, when student Jack Pieters made a connection between reduced social activities and his grandmother's cognitive decline since her admission to a nursing home, we decided to investigate. Our study shows that this decline can be mitigated, for those in which cognitive decline has not, or only just, started, if they participate in social activities."

Hein van Hout, professor of Care for Older People at Amsterdam UMC and leader of this research project

The study analysed the cognitive performance of 3600 patients more than 18,000 times, on average every six months. Care home residents were then categorised based on their level of decline. In the groups with the least cognitive decline, thus those with no or only mild cognitive impairment, social activity was shown to prevent further, or the begin of, decline. These findings were not affected by the level of physical activity, suggesting that social activity has a specific relationship with cognitive function. 

"Social activity can mean a lot of things. In this study we looked at both general activities, as well as specific social activities such as conversing, reminiscing, helping other and going on trips or even just to the shops. We saw that all of these activities offered this preventative effect," says van Hout. A preventative effect that may have consequences for national care guidelines. "This may affect our ideas of how an optimal staff mix looks like, for example with more professionals or volunteers to help facilitate social activities. This, in turn, can lower their dependence on assistance in their daily lives which could have a knock-on effect on the societal costs of long-term care in the long run," adds van Hout. 

Source:
Journal reference:

Angevaare, M. J., et al. (2024). Social Activity and Cognitive Decline in Older Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities: A Cohort Study. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. doi.org/10.3233/JAD-221053.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Increased emotional sensitivity linked to previous COVID-19 infection, new research suggests