Recent research conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden indicates that remaining socially engaged and maintaining a positive outlook can help reduce the risk of developing dementia. “Our findings suggest that having a calm and outgoing personality in combination with a socially active lifestyle may decrease the risk of developing dementia even further”, as described by the studies author Hui-Xin Wang, Ph.D. The study appears in the January 20, 2009 issue of the Journal Neurology.
This leads to the question of how to help people stay socially engaged. Having hobbies, expanding interests, maintaining relationships all go a long way to staying healthy. Creating environments that positively support a persons interaction with others are vital to their health and well-being. This applies to outdoor as well as indoor settings. The value of nature cannot be over emphasized. It is one things to be able to move about your home. It is as equally as important to be able to go next door and visit with the neighbors, to walk into town to pick up groceries for dinner or to attend a social event at church or other venues.
The research validates what we know inherently know to be true. Our connection to the community positively impacts all aspects of our lives.