Having a close social network is important at all stages of life.
Everyone cherishes good friends. And while it can be harder to find them as you grow older the good news is that the ones you already have could be keeping you sharp.
A new study done at Northwestern University shows the results.
“You don’t have the be the life of the party,” said the study’s senior author Emily Rogalski, associate professor at Northwestern’s CNADC, “but this study supports the theory that maintaining strong social networks seems to be linked to slower cognitive decline.”
Participants answered a 42-item questionnaire that’s widely used to measure people’s psychological well-being.
“SuperAgers”- people who are 80 years of age and older and who have cognitive ability at least as good as people in their 50s or 60- were reported to have more satisfying, high-quality relationships when compared with their peers of the same age who had average thinking abilities.
“It’s not as simple as saying if you have a strong social network, you’ll never get Alzheimer’s disease,” Rogalski said. “But if there is a list of healthy choices one can make…maintaining strong social networks may be an important one on that list. None of these things by themself guarantees you don’t get the disease, but they may still have health benefits.”
Other research studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease typically have declining social networks.
Need tips on joining a new social network as you age? Check out Psychology Today for some tips.
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