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Landmark Study Links Loneliness to an Increased Risk of Dementia

A recent study from the Florida State University College of Medicine points to a strong link between feelings of loneliness and an increased risk of developing dementia. The study has implications for the field of dementia care, indicating that in addition to environmental and physical causes of dementia, there are important social indicators that need to be considered. 

Exactly how loneliness leads to an increased risk of dementia is not known, although the study suggests that the link may be expressed through side effects including coping behaviors like increased drinking or drug abuse or physiological effects like an increased susceptibility to inflammation.

Significantly, the study highlights the difficult nature of evaluating loneliness, defining the condition as “a feeling that you do not fit in, or do not belong with the people around you.” However, as any introvert can attest, it is possible to feel socially fulfilled with very few daily interactions, and the mere presence of people does not necessarily mean that someone’s social needs are being met. A deep attention to the individual and their social history is necessary to determine whether or not they meet the criteria of loneliness–in other words, you have to get to know someone first. 

The philosophy of care at ComfortCare Homes addresses the psychosocial needs of our Residents through enrichment activities that meet the Resident where they are by providing opportunities for group socialization, as well as space for one-on-one conversations or engagement through movement or games. We recognize that each individual enjoys different amounts of socialization, and our professional caregivers take the time to truly know each Resident. We take great pride in our ability to see the whole person, and not just their disease. 

Make some time to visit with us for a tour or informal evaluation of your loved one’s needs—call 316-685-3322.

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