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Being socially active in your fifties and sixties lowers the risk of developing dementia in later life, according to new research.
Academics at University College London found that someone who saw friends almost daily at the age of 60 was 12 per cent less likely to develop dementia than someone who only saw one or two friends every couple of months.
Having an active social life “at any age may well have a similar impact on reducing dementia risk”, according to the researchers.
Socialising promotes the use of memory and language, which could help minimise the effect of dementia, according to Professor Gill Livingston, a senior author of the report.
She added: “People who are socially engaged are exercising cognitive skills such as memory and language, which may help them to develop cognitive reserve – while it may not stop their brains from changing, cognitive reserve could help people cope better with the effects of age and delay any symptoms of dementia.
Read more by visiting The Independent website.
A study of 2,000 people aged 65+, commissioned by the Connected Care Platform provider Anthropos, were asked why they kept it secret, with 26 per cent saying they can deal with any care issue themselves, 16 per cent don’t want to be labelled ‘vulnerable’ and 18 per cent don’t want to acknowledge they’re getting older.
Almost a third (29 per cent) of people aged 65+ have hidden their need for any type of care support from loved ones.
Secrets kept to avoid ‘burdening’ family
Thirty-nine per cent admitted they would keep their feelings a secret from loved ones to avoid burdening them.
These secrets aren’t just limited to falls; the other most common issues are reduced mobility, changes in toilet habits, forgetfulness, sleeping difficulties and loss of balance.
Jim Patience, chief executive of Anthropos, which focuses on passive falls detection without the use of wearable devices, said: “Considering there are 11 million people aged 65 and over, the research really brings home just how widespread these issues are. If we extrapolated these numbers across the whole of the UK, it could indicate that every year around 2.6 million people fall, with 686,000 people not telling anyone about it.
“It fits into the wider pattern we’ve found that so many older people are hiding care concerns. We hope adults of all ages consider how these findings may support gentle, sensitive conversations with the older people in their lives about all care matters, from falls to forgetfulness.”
In the early stage of dementia, the person will start to experience problems that affect their everyday living. The person may notice these early changes themselves, or they may first be recognised by their family, friends or colleagues. While some people may not think it is necessary to see their doctor at this stage, it’s important to do so as soon as possible so the right support can be put in place early on.
· increasing forgetfulness
· difficulty retaining new information
· getting lost in places that used to be familiar
· struggling with names
· misplacing things frequently
· difficulty understanding time and place, eg getting up in the middle of the night to go to work, even if they’re retired
· difficulty with choosing what to buy and paying when shopping
· struggling with decision-making and reasoning
· loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
· restlessness, eg pacing, fidgeting and trying to leave the house
· struggling to find the right words
· repeating themselves often
· difficulty making and following conversation
· difficulty reading and writing
· becoming quieter and more withdrawn
· loss of interest in socialising
· loss of confidence
· changes in personality and behaviour
· mood swings, anxiety and depression
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said in his Autumn Statement speech that there were “very difficult times ahead” for people and said he must delay a cap on social care costs by two years but angry care leaders are warning that care is “much more than the discharge arm of the NHS”.
From October 2023, the government had planned to introduce a new £86,000 cap on the amount anyone in England has to spend on their personal care over their lifetime, but the policy is now being pushed back to 2025.
Jeremy Hunt to use social care to ‘free up 13,500 hospital beds’
Mr Hunt said he’d “listened to extensive representations about the challenges facing the social care sector.“
“I also heard very real concerns from local authorities particularly about their ability to deliver the Dilnot reforms immediately. So I will delay the implementation of this important reform for two years, allocating the funding to allow local authorities to provide more care packages.”
To get the social care system to help free up 13,500 hospital beds “occupied by those who should be at home”, Mr Hunt announced additional grant funding for adult social care of £1 billion next year and £1.7 billion the year after.