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Loneliness and Depression Linked to Memory Loss in Chinese American Seniors

elderlyA new study has found older Chinese Americans live healthier and happier lives if they are socially connected and maintain ties to their culture, reports Rutgers Today.

Researcher XinQi Dong of Rutger University’s Institute of Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, interviewed 3,000 Chinese Americans ages 60 and over in the Chicago area.

The researchers concluded that depression and loneliness may negatively impact cognitive function, but those effects can be alleviated by individual, social and family resources.

According to the American Council on Science & Health, the authors of the study believe that there’s a direct connection between memory loss and loneliness and depression.
“The key finding of this study is that loneliness was associated with poor global cognitive functioning in U.S. Chinese older adults,” the authors wrote. “We suspect that loneliness and depressive symptoms act together to influence cognitive functioning.”

The same study also found that Chinese Americans have a higher rate of psychological distress, dementia and cancer, especially in the elderly.

“Health is multifaceted,” Dong said. “These studies reinforce the idea that we cannot just look at the individual, but must take into account the person’s social, community, national and cultural contexts. More systematic and integrated approaches are needed to generate and translate knowledge in Asian populations in order to move the needle on health equity in our increasing diverse populations.”
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