Could marriage stave off dementia?

Dementia and marital status could be linked, according to a new study.

Could marriage stave off dementia?

Dementia and marital status could be linked, according to a new Michigan State University study that found married people are less likely to experience dementia as they age.

On the other hand, divorcees are about twice as likely as married people to develop dementia, the study indicated, with divorced men showing a greater disadvantage than divorced women.

In one of the first studies of its kind, professor of sociology Hui Liu and colleagues analysed four groups of unmarried individuals: divorced or separated, widowed, never married, and cohabiters. Among them, the divorced had the highest risk of dementia.

“This research is important because the number of unmarried older adults … continues to grow, as people live longer and their marital histories become more complex,” Prof. Liu said.

“Marital status is an important but overlooked social risk/protective factor for dementia.”

Prof. Liu and her fellow researchers analysed data from the Health and Retirement Study from 2000 to 2014. The sample included more than 15,000 respondents aged 52 and older in 2000, measuring their cognitive function every two years, in person or via telephone.

The researchers also found differing economic resources only partly account for higher dementia risk among divorced, widowed and never-married respondents, but couldn’t account for higher risk in cohabiters.

In addition, health-related factors, such as behaviours and chronic conditions, slightly influenced risk among the divorced and married, but didn’t seem to affect other marital statuses.

“These findings will be helpful for health policy makers and practitioners who seek to better identify vulnerable populations and to design effective intervention strategies to reduce dementia risk,” Prof. Liu said.

Do you know or care for people with dementia? Are those people that you know with dementia single, married or divorced? Do you think companionship can help stave off dementia?

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    30th Aug 2019
    I think marriage can cause Dementia if you have a partner that drives you up the wall.
    30th Aug 2019
    Totally agree Jackie.

    30th Aug 2019
    I thought marriage was the cause of Dementia....
    30th Aug 2019
    I think a good relationship with positive communication and mutual interests can probably help in staving off dementia, but a marriage which doesn't have those things would be of very little assistance.
    Chris B T
    30th Aug 2019
    You don't have to remember where you put Things, the other half tells you Left it.
    30th Aug 2019
    The article as many are, is quite light weight. Research well done is important and isolation and loneliness brings many health problems not just dementia is my thought. Even so, after good research is done and even done by others with the same result, does our government listen? How long before anything is done to implement an even low cost strategy to make an actual difference in the lives of people?

    After caring for my husband for about 10 years, my experience is there is no recognition for the sacrifices, no roads for the carer after the caring is done are made easier unless one needs some grief counseling. Society should understand after a long stint of caring, the carer needs about 6 months to a year of low stress living and various sorts of low level support to regain their health and their brains. In this case it is about making the road through the various changes in circumstances, social, financial, practical easier. Society could do a lot more, as could organisations that carers must interact with in order to settle their affairs and get their lives reorganized and make the lifestyle adjustments and look after their own health.
    31st Aug 2019
    One very good reason to stay with a husband or wife basher/abuser? (NOT)

    Getting sick of these silly studies.

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