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Volunteer work reduces the risk of dementia in the elderly

May 11, 2017 15:32

11/05/2017 15:26

A new study shows that the work of a volunteer reduces the development of dementia.

A study conducted by a professor of psychology at the University of Calgary Yannick Griepom and published in the medical journal PLOS One, attended by 1001 citizens of Sweden, who had retired in 2010. Scientists have observed their cognitive problems five years.

Pensioners were divided into three groups depending on the participation in volunteer work. One group consisted of people who voluntarily participated in the activities of one hour per week. The second group from time to time involved in volunteer activities. In the third group are elderly people who have never engaged in volunteering.

Cognitive health of participants was assessed at regular intervals (in 2010, 2012 and 2014) with the help of questionnaires and monitoring. The questionnaires included questions related to memory, ability to concentrate and to make clear decisions.

Regular work as a volunteer provides cognitive benefits

"We found that people who voluntarily worked at least one hour per week on a regular basis, dementia developed in 2.44 times less," - says Griep.

Volunteer work in the study is defined as the activity of free will, without remuneration. Griep explains that this activity should be of benefit to others, such as churches, schools, libraries, homeless shelters or charities.

Griep and his colleagues found that the middle group (retirees to volunteer from time to time), did not receive the benefits of health. Researchers believe this is because the participants did not receive "hidden benefits of working" compared to normal volunteers.

Work helps build mode when you need to get up at seven and to be in the office at 8:30. This social contacts with people outside the family and social status. People feel that benefit society. There is also a physical aspect, when you need to walk from home to the place of execution of volunteer work.

The researchers recommend that retirees to volunteer at least once a week

"If you regularly participate in volunteer programs, it feels like a normal job, and the benefits available," - explains Griep. Those who work as a volunteer, continues to use mental abilities.

Based on these findings, Griep and other researchers recommend retirees to work at least once a week.

"As we age, the risk of dementia is increasing every year. Even a small-time will reduce the likelihood of developing dementia. This will not only benefit the health care system, but for those who may develop the disease, "- said Griep.



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