Seniors who volunteer in late life may be protecting their brains from dementia. Those were the findings of a new UC Davis study from Yi Lor, an epidemiology doctoral student, and Rachel Whitmer, a professor in the Departments of Public Health Sciences and Neurology.
They found that seniors who volunteered had better cognitive function—specifically, better executive function and episodic memory— than those who did not. Those who volunteered several times per week had the highest levels of executive function.
The study authors presented their findings at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023 in Amsterdam.
Volunteering may be important for better cognition in late life and could serve as a simple intervention in all older adults to protect against risk for Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementias.—Yi Lor, UC Davis doctoral student and author of the new study