Thursday, Jun. 11, 2009

Behavior and Mood

The risk factors for disease and disability are pretty well known by now, but what about the factors that may stave off age-related decline — particularly of the mind? A recent study of 2,500 adults ages 70 to 79 published in the journal Neurology found that those who were able to preserve mental acuity had a few things in common: they exercised at least once a week, did not smoke, had a minimum of a high school education and a ninth-grade literacy level and were socially active. That last point is crucial, according to experts on aging, who say social connection — with friends or family or within the community — helps keep a mind healthy. Likewise, isolation can be a mark of decline, Leipzig says. "One of the signs that something may be happening is people start to be isolated, socialize less, want to go out less. That may be [due to] a mood disorder or an awareness that they can't keep up."

Online Resource
Healthy Living, AARP