Importance of cohabitation
The importance of social relationship goes far beyond societal responsibility. It is needed and necessary for good health. Several studies have shown that dementia is associated with having a steady relationship. ”Among the few studies explicitly investigating this, the majority have found marriage/cohabitation to have a beneficial effect on dementia risk” says Anna Sundströmy, department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
According to the author, their study ” assessed whether there were differences in risk of dementia across the marital status categories”. Moreover, in order to investigate whether there are differences between early and late onset of dementia,they separated the analysis into two age groups: young-old (50–64) and middle-old (65–74), she said.
The Sweden research observed 2, 288, 489 individuals without prior dementia diagnosis at the beginning of the study and discovered 31,572 individuals were demented at the end of the study. Further observation of these dementia patients showed that those living alone as non-marrieds may be at risk for early-onset and late-onset dementia. ” The estimated protective effect of marriage persisted even after adjustment for several potential confounders, ” she said. When only age was adjusted for, the benefit of marriage was stronger for men. The researchers were of the opinion that more researches are needed to understand the underlying mechanism by which marital status is associated with dementia. Also the researchers observed contrary to previous studies that widowhood reduces the risk of dementia.
The author however feels this was as a result of time as ” dementia develops over a long period and that the duration of widowhood in this study might be of insufficient length for many people to be fully manifested in dementia during that time”, she said. Among the men, the risk of dementia was high for divorced men but after adjusting for socioeconomic and other factors, it wasn’t a significant percentage.
Thus, socioeconomic and other factors seem to account for some of the initially observed differences by gender in the association between marital status and dementia.
”This suggests that social relationships should be taken seriously as a risk factor for dementia and that social-based interventions may provide an opportunity to reduce the overall dementia risk”, they concluded .
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