Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A Social Prescription for Dementia

Are social prescriptions (or a social medicine program) going to become the norm of the future? They have been shown to be beneficial for those with dementia, for example.

A social prescription is not simply your doctor encouraging you to see friends and family more often. This method of socialization is systematic and involves interacting in a structured group setting. This New York Times article shares the experience of one woman with Alzheimer’s who takes part in hour-long group discussions lead by a moderator. During the sessions, they listen to music and discuss a range of topics. The purpose? Creating a stimulating social interaction that encourages engagement as a means to help memory and cognition.

The group setting appears to be key. The program initially was formatted so that participants could interact as a group or one on one. However, one of the professors leading the program at Saint Louis University’s Aging and Memory Clinic says there appears to be greater benefits for cognition and quality of life when interacting as a group.

Social prescriptions are being written in Britain and are accepted as treatments, and not just for older adults. Could social medicine programs expand and become part of the medical practice in the U.S. and Canada? Click here to learn more about social prescriptions and the obstacles in expanding this practice in the future.

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