Key 3: Be Social

3. Be Social

Isolation and loneliness can be terrible for your health in many ways and being social is very important in preventing dementia. Those who are socially active had 70% less cognitive decline than those who are socially isolated, thus less socially active. On the other hand, extreme isolation can increase your risk of dementia by 40%!

There are several important levels of relationships: confidants, good friends, and acquaintances (including “consequential strangers”). These social contacts should include 1-2 confidants (people you can call in the middle of the night for help), 3-7 good friends (people you enjoy spending time with on a regular basis) and having at least 7 acquaintances (people in your community seen regularly who know you and your talk to; examples include your neighbor, fellow dog walkers, barista, hairdresser/barber, or library worker). Volunteering in activities that help others appears to be especially beneficial.

Take the KEYS course to learn more about reducing your risk KEYS program locations