Doctors and other health professionals are skilled at keeping you functioning optimally. But they are also the preferred last line of defense. The truth is that there are a bunch of other people that can help keep you healthy.
And they don’t cost a thing.
The people in your life play a major role in keeping you healthy, and you might not even notice. But the more isolated and disconnected a person is, the faster they may lose their memory and thinking skills.
Aside from an increased risk for dementia, isolation is also associated with an elevated risk for heart attack, stroke, chronic inflammation, depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and more.
The pandemic was – and remains – a major source of isolation. Although vaccines and the summer weather have allowed for a degree of reintegration, it’s not helping everybody. Those that were isolated before the pandemic, or lost a loved one during it, may continue to experience accelerated cognitive decline.
One small study showed that 60 percent of people with mild cognitive impairment – a potential precursor of dementia – or Alzheimer’s saw their symptoms get worse the longer they were alone.
So, what can you do?
Connect with others. They can keep your brain and your body healthy. If in-person meetings are not possible for you, then utilize the various technological tools that can pull you closer.
Video or social apps allow you to see and speak to the family and friends you miss. You can schedule meetups and even host events through social apps. Spend some time figuring out how to use a couple of them to reinvigorate your social life.
Many social apps can connect you with like-minded people. So, if you don’t always feel like talking to family or friends, you may be able to link with people that share your interests for fun or topical conversation.
Picking up the phone to call an old friend is also an option. Although there is no visual element, research has shown phone calls can be mentally stimulating and encourage brain activity much like a real-life meeting.
Further, if you elect to get a COVID-19 vaccination, you may have more socialization options available depending on where you live.
Take advantage of the people in your life to help your memory, mental, and physical health.