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Arts and crafts may protect the elderly against dementia risk

Posted on by Nichol and Hill Ltd

If you’ve ever considered starting a new hobby, then you should definitely pursue the idea, as studies have shown just how beneficial certain hobbies really are.

Many hobbies are therapeutic and good for the mind, body and soul – depending on what the hobby is –  contributing to a better well-being and an all-round healthier lifestyle.

What does the evidence suggest?

A recent study in America has shown that people who carry out arts and crafts during their middle-age and elderly years, are less likely to suffer from memory problems later on in life.

paintingThe study specifically followed 256 people for four years, who were aged over 85 years. All participants had to report their levels of participation in certain activities, including drawing, painting, sculpting, woodwork, pottery, sewing, socialising at events etc. The results showed that one third of the test group showed signs of mild cognitive impairment after the four years were up.  On the whole, those who were regularly involved in activities were 73% less likely to have suffered any problems with their memory.

It revealed how the arts and crafts activities helped reduce the risk by 45%, whereas those who attended social events lowered the risk by 55% ,and those who used the internet or a computer reduced the risk by 53%.

Why do the activities help?

Although it isn’t obviously clear how doing these sorts of artistic activities can help, it has been suggested that they keep the brain stimulated and functioning, rather than becoming stagnant, underdeveloped and unused.

potteryDr. James E. Galvin of Neurology, Psychiatry and Population Health explained, “such activities have been shown to lower the rate of cognitive decline, or slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease”. He then goes on to reveal that “while we cannot cure Alzheimer’s disease, there is increasing evidence that disease risk may be modifiable”.

With an ever increasing ageing population, illnesses such as dementia and alzheimer’s are becoming more and more common, so it’s important that we search for changes we can make to our lifestyle in order to lower the risk that faces us.

Stimulation, stimulation, stimulation

brainSo it appears that stimulation is key. Stimulation helps protect the neurons in our brain so they do not die but that new neurons are encouraged instead. With dementia sufferers across Britain on the up rise (around 850,000 people), although this specific study looked at mild cognitive impairment and not dementia specifically, when added to previous evidence it is clear that by keeping your brain active, whether with social activities, technology or arts and crafts, you can help reduce your risks of memory problems like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Nichol & Hill

When memory problems start to creep in, it’s sometimes the little things that can make a huge difference. Here at Nichol & Hill, we supply bespoke furniture and soft furnishings to care homes throughout the UK. These can be tailored to suit your care home and the needs of your residents, making their time with you as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. For more information about our products please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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