Socializing is essential for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing, playing a significant role in cognitive function. Interestingly, newer studies have revealed the significance of socializing on the cognition of older adults.
As we age, the inevitable consequences have been seen to lead to a decline in cognitive function and mental vitality. However, as recent findings have understood the changes in cognitive function with age, studies have shown how social engagement could maintain cognitive function into late adulthood.
Studies have shown that social engagement and activities play a significant role in maintaining cognition and reducing the risk of cognitive decline into late adulthood. Many studies have revealed that individuals (average age=65) with large social networks show better cognitive function than those with limited social networks. Additionally, numerous studies have shown that increased engagement in social leisure activities is associated with a reduced risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
While the specific underlying mechanisms influencing these benefits are unknown, it is hypothesized that social stimulation significantly alters neural pathways and tissues. In animal studies on rats, evidence has shown that rats raised in social environments showed greater brain volume, enhanced learning, increased neural tissue, and dendritic growth in older age than those raised alone. A significant finding showed neurogenesis, or the birth of new neurons, in the hippocampal structure of old mice, which plays an important role in learning and memory.