Do you worry about falling prey to Alzheimer’s or dementia? Researchers in Sweden have found that people living alone from midlife on, are almost three times as likely to suffer some kind of cognitive impairment as people who live with a partner. Study author Krister Hakansson, of Vaxjo University, Sweden acknowledged that while there are other risk factors, such as carrying the particular gene known to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, the loss of a partner destabilized the psycho-biological system, leading to a greater risk of cognitive loss. The study was published last week by the British Medical Journal.
I read about this in my local paper and it’s been on my mind. Since I’m 51 and have no partner, I’m wondering if I’m in that risk group? Can’t be, right? I mean I have plenty of social interaction now and work provides a ton of mental stimulation so I’m not seriously concerned. And surely, it’s more complicated than that – doesn’t quality of marriage matter? What if you lived with a friend so it wasn’t an intimate relationship? Would that still help? But would I be investing in my long term health if I did choose to devote time and energy now to finding a partner? I can hear my inner self say ‘don’t even think about it. Are you insane? Where would you find the time? Wait till the kids are off to college.’ What say you?