For all of us who comment on the amount of time our children/grandchildren spend on their tablets and/or iPads, listen up! According to a recent study, spending 1-2 hours a day online reduces the risk of dementia and may actually be good for brain health! Sure, I personally believe our young people need to decrease the amount of time that they are on devices and spend more time outdoors. However, this study made me pause.
When you consider that dementia impacts an estimated 5.8 million people in the U.S., this is good news! Of course, this isn’t the only way to help prevent or slow this devastating disease, simple, mentally stimulating activities also protect brain health. Maybe consider reading, puzzles, and card games to assist in maintaining cognitive health. I also found it interesting that people who graduate from college, are bilingual, and socially engaged, all have lower risks for dementia.
While the exact reason using the internet may lower dementia risk is unclear, the thought is that online engagement can develop and maintain cognitive reserve and increased cognitive reserve can compensate for brain aging and reduce the risk of dementia. Think about some ways that you can assist your residents in staying engaged. Is there an opportunity to prevent further cognitive decline? Talk to your activity staff, include your social service team and mental health providers. Maybe purchase some tablets or use the ones you purchased during the pandemic. Load some fun Mario games on them, share them with the residents (sanitize between use of course), and see how creative your team can be! Have fun and stay healthy!
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