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Higher Purpose in Life Linked to Better Brain Health

Research pioneered by the Rush Memory and Aging Project at Rush Medical Center in Chicago shows that those who are dedicated to a higher purpose in life–be it a hobby, career, or passion project–tend to have a lower risk of stroke than people who are less involved with the world around them. Today, Annapolis Home Care Assistance is going to share a bit of information about this research and how to encourage purpose in an aging loved one’s life.

Details on the Findings

The study, published in the clinical journal Stroke this month, followed 450 older adults with an annual physical and mental evaluation each year through their deaths. This exam included an assessment of engagement with purpose in life, measured on a scale of 1 through 5. Those seniors with higher average levels of engagement had a lower lifetime risk for stroke. In fact, risk decreased by 50 percent for every additional point on the scale. Earlier research published in 2010 by the same project linked engagement and contentment with a lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease as well.

Impact on Seniors

What do these findings mean for your aging loved one? Developing a satisfying hobby can help keep the brain healthy even as he or she gets older. Researchers aren’t sure exactly how, but the feeling of having something to live for is quite beneficial for physical and mental health. If you want to encourage your family member to be more active, here are three great pathways.

  1. Volunteering

    Just because your loved one is retired doesn’t mean that career skills are lost. Your family member can consider donating these skills to an organization in need. Think about what his or her interests are and ways to apply those in a volunteer setting at a local church, elementary school, or fundraising organization.

  2. Lifelong Learning

    Libraries, community centers, and some college campuses offer all sorts of classes for seniors, often for free or at a very low cost. Your family member can work on a new language, learn to build websites, or take up gardening.

  3. Social Engagement

    Joining a book club or making it a priority to meet up with old friends a few times a week can provide your loved one with the strong social ties needed to maintain outlook and a positive perspective. If your loved one no longer lives near friends and family, an hourly caregiver in Annapolis could provide companionship on an as-needed basis, a few hours a day or a few days a week.

Giving your aging parent or loved one something to look forward to can be just what they need to continue living a long and healthy life in the comfort of home. To see how a trained and compassionate caregiver could benefit your aging parent or loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Annapolis and learn more about our Balanced Care Method, unique memory care programs, and caregiver training and hiring process. Call 443-302-2771 to request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.