Cultural Events Lowers Risk for Depression

After the presents are unwrapped and the holiday meal is finished, many families share a tradition of going out to the movies or the theatre.  New research, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, finds that staying culturally engaged by visiting the cinema, theatre, opera or art gallery at least once a month can help older adults combat social isolation and depression.

At the Oldish we’ve recently learned that doctors are starting to “prescribe” social outings or time spent in nature to help patients, especially older adults, stay connected with their communities and prevent depression.  Researchers at University College London found that cultural activities not only stimulate the mind among adults over the age of 50 but also improve social interaction and may encourage creativity.   All these benefits improve the overall wellbeing of seniors and can help reduce the risk of depression. 

By attending a cultural event just once a month, the risk for developing depression drops by 48 percent, according to data collected from more than 2,000 adults over the age of 50 during a span of 10 years.  And attending a cultural event even once every couple of months reduced the risk for depression by 32 percent.

It’s always important to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise and participate in activities that engage the brain but researchers are increasingly discovering the importance of social connection in maintaining overall well-being.  This holiday season, consider giving the gift of an experience, such as theatre tickets or movie passes, to share with an older loved-one in your life.  You will be giving something so much more meaningful, and beneficial than another pair of slippers!  Check out your local community theatre, college, university or high school theatre programs for reasonably priced tickets.

Learn more about social engagement and healthy aging by following this link to Havard Health and find out how your social network rates.