A surprising activity for alzheimers prevention in aging parents can be found in local congregations.
"Having close friends and staying in contact with family members offers a protective effect against the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s disease according to research by physicians at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago."
Strangely, the presence of Alzheimer's-related damage in the brain, and the outward effects of Alzheimer's disease are very different things. The actual presence of Alzheimer's disease can only be confirmed in an autopsy when researchers are able to verify the defective structures in the brain.
"Many elderly people who have the [tangles and plaques] associated with Alzheimer's disease don't clinically experience cognitive impairment or dementia," said Bennett. "Our findings suggest that social networks are related to something that offers a 'protective reserve' capacity that spares them the clinical manifestations of Alzheimer's disease."
Having close friends that one is able to confide in and offer a regular and accepting interactions are a positive and protective against the ravages of Alzheimer's. That one can "have the disease" and still not experience the effects is news that every congregation should know and spread.
Activities within congregations that engage seniors, provide regular connections, and opportunities to bond and help them experience a supportive environment are literally life-sustaining.
Adult children should pay attention to this news as well. Have regular conversations with your aging parents to monitor their social interactions. Your visits and conversations can physically be very beneficial.
"Identifying factors associated with the ability to tolerate the pathology of Alzheimer's disease has important implications for disease prevention," said Bennett. "Previous studies suggest one factor is education. Now we know that healthy and frequent interactions with friends and family have a positive impact as well."