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  • Cameron Oglesby

Is going online good for your brain? Depends on when you do it.

“Using the Internet may help extend the cognitively healthy lifespan,” notes a study published in last month’s Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. “Online engagement can develop and maintain cognitive reserve…[which] can, in turn, compensate for brain aging and reduce the risk of dementia.”

After following 18,154 adults over more than 8 years, researchers found that regular Internet users had half the dementia risk of non-users.

The study also found that a little as two hours a day online could lower dementia risks. But other research suggests it could be the content or even the process of learning to navigate the Internet itself.

One factor that can protect against dementia is learning new skills. And those new skills could be anything from learning how to email, text, bank or shop online to mastering a new language or taking a college course to singing and dancing along with TikTok.

Using social networking to establish and maintain social connections can stave off depression and feelings of isolation that scientists associate with dementia.

But when you use your devices can affect how much good they do you.

Here’s why: Getting enough sleep can help reduce dementia risk, and according to a study reported in Sleep Medicine, nighttime social posting can interfere with that.

The researchers analyzed some 120 million posts made by 44,000 users over a 15-year span and determine frequent users’ normal bedtimes. They found that if a user posted an hour or so before their normal bedtime, they were still awake as much as three hours later. And the more times they posted, the later they stayed awake.

The problem was twofold: Blue light from the devices’ screens suppressed the production of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. At the same time, the mental stimulation raised users’ levels of dopamine, which keeps you mentally active, alert – and awake.

People being people, we rarely if ever react to the same stimuli in the exact same way. That’s why we never offer one-size-fits-all senior care. Care is more effective when it focuses on the person receiving it. That’s why, from the day we first opened our doors, Senior Insights has focused on each of our clients as individual people, instead of just an assortment of pains and disabilities. It’s why, before we recommend any care at all, we conduct a thorough three-part physical, emotional, cognitive, and psychosocial needs assessment with prospective clients and their families. And it’s why, having learned about each new client’s individual priorities, values, preferences, schedule, hobbies and interests, and trade-offs they’re willing to make, we can create a custom-designed holistic coordinated senior care management plan that embodies them.

Please contact us to learn more about getting the right kind of senior care at exactly the right time.

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