With the aging of the baby-boomer generation, 1.13 million Australians are forecast to have the disease by 2050, placing a huge strain on the country’s healthcare system. currently 245,000 Australians living with Alzheimer’s disease and it’s the country’s leading cause of disability in adults over 65.
Researchers from the University of Tasmania presented their research at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
For the past 18 months, Mathew Summers and his University of Tasmania School of Psychology colleagues have been working on”The Tasmania Health Brain Study: Does late-life education prevent age- related decline and dementia?”
“It’s less about learning, and more about keeping your mind active. The advantage of university or college education in older age is the mental activity. But it’s the social activity as well because you have to socially engage with other people to take part in the course,”
The Australian academics said their research suggests that older adults and seniors need to do things that are mentally stimulating in order to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers’ answer is classes for adults that are designed to boost cognitive reserves and protect against Alzheimer’s or delay its onset.
“All that mental activity is exercising the brain in a way that happened when you were working. The biggest risk we have with retirement is disengaging. So this forces a change on two levels; mental activity and increased social activity.”