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Publication Detail
Social engagement before and after dementia diagnosis in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
BACKGROUND: Social engagement protects against dementia onset. Less is known about patterns of social engagement around the time of dementia diagnosis. We investigated face-to-face and telephone contact at three times (pre-diagnosis, at report of diagnosis, 2 years post-diagnosis) in individuals who developed dementia and a comparison group. METHODS: Social engagement was assessed at waves 2-7 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing in 4171 individuals aged 50 and older. Dementia was ascertained by either self-reported physician diagnosis or through an informant evaluation of a participant's functional and cognitive performance compared with a few years earlier. Generalized estimating equations were used to examine differences by group, time, and group-by-time interactions. RESULTS: The dementia group reported less face-to-face (p < 0.001) and telephone contact (p < 0.001) than the dementia-free group pre-diagnosis. The dementia group experienced greater reductions in social engagement leading up to dementia diagnosis and in the 2 years following diagnosis (p's < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Given that social engagement reduces dementia risk and supports the lived experience of people with dementia, it is important to find ways of promoting social interaction in older adults.
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