Marital status, living situation and cognitive decline

Living together associated with lower cognitive decline

In elderly men from Finland, The Netherlands and Italy information was collected on marital status and living situation in 1985 and again in 1990. This was related to cognitive decline during the next 10 years. Men who were married or who lived with others (with spouse, children, others or in a nursing home) in both 1985 and 1990, had the smallest subsequent 10-year cognitive decline.

The influence of marriage on cognitive decline

Elderly men who lost a partner and those who were unmarried in the two examination rounds had a 2 times greater cognitive decline compared with those who were married in both years. Men who started to live alone between 1985 and 1990, had a cognitive decline 2 times greater and those who lived alone in both years had a cognitive decline 3.5 times greater than that of men who lived with others in both years.

About the FINE study

In 1984, the SCS field surveys were extended with different aspects of health in the FINE (Finland Italy Netherlands Elderly) study. Similar surveys were also carried out in Serbia and Crete. Read more about the FINE study.

More about mental health, cognitive decline & depression

Lifestyle, diet and optimism

A healthy diet, especially eating more fruit, vegetables, and whole grain bread was related to a higher level of optimism.