I’m not going to lie, I kinda have a song from a 1960s pop band running through my head, but to save you all from having it play reruns across your auditory cortex, let it suffice to say that we all get along with a little assistance from our comrades… and much more than I bet you’d realize.
You see, friends not only help pass the time, give you someone to talk with on a nice summer day, or take part in occasional friendly competitions with you, but they also bring you another benefit that is only lately coming to light. An article in the Journal of the International Neuro-Psychological Society details out a study conducted over twelve years with over 1,100 senior citizen participants, proving that “more socially active older adults experience less cognitive decline in old age” including decreasing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Now I gotta say, “WOW!” on that. Don’t get me wrong. I generally take good care of myself health wise, even though I occasionally eat one cheeseburger too many, but if the company of good friends can prevent late-life mental illness and keep me healthy, I should throw a party! (Well, maybe not immediately, but in like 40 years when I’ll be in good need of one.)
The study itself is filled with the kind of techno-babble and sophisticated algebraic mathematics that makes me wonder if I’m developing some dementia a couple decades early (perhaps I should throw that party sooner rather than later). Altogether though, in the researcher’s own words: “on average, the most socially active individuals experienced only one quarter of the rate of cognitive decline experienced by the least socially active individuals.”
My mother made me promise her to never put her in a “home” when she gets old. Call me crazy, but it sounds like a “home” would actually be a benefit, if for no other reason than to avoid dementia and Alzheimer’s! I don’t know why, but we seem to like to forget that we humans are animals, and as animals, we grew up as a social species. So, it makes total sense that being around other people improves our health.