Unfortunately, social isolation - only intensified by the pandemic - has severe health consequences. Social isolation is defined as isolation from social networks. Recent research has suggested that social isolation is directly associated with dementia risk.
Research including 462,619 people (~57 years of age) from the UK, found that:
- Individuals classified as “socially isolated” had a decreased volume of the brain's gray matter, in regions associated with learning and thought-processing. Gray matter is critical for nearly all functions.
- Socially isolated individuals also had a 26% greater likelihood of developing dementia compared to those not socially isolated.
- Loneliness was not correlated with risk for dementia.
The Hearty Take
At Hearty, we believe that social connection is fundamental to a long, healthy life. To prevent cognitive decline we advocate for individuals to form strong social networks that foster feelings of belonging and purpose. It is because of this belief that we strive to create community for our members at Hearty.