Experts say some isolated older adults are exhibiting signs of dementia
by Christina Ianzito, AARP
Loneliness among older adults is often described as an epidemic with serious physical and mental health consequences, including a higher risk for dementia. Some experts say the socially isolating pandemic has the potential to make this epidemic even worse, leading to more memory loss and other cognitive problems among vulnerable older people.
"We know people who are getting old, if they're isolated or socially less stimulated, they tend to develop dementia earlier than others,” says behavioral neurologist Borna Bonakdarpour, an assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine physician. “So when social activities were stopped when we first started to shelter in place, I started getting phone calls from family members that [their loved ones] were declining.”