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Bingo night could lower risk of disability for seniors

by , 17 July 2013

How do you spell good health and a lower risk of disability in your senior years? B-I-N-G-O! As simple as it sounds, a study has found maintaining a busy social life, especially through events like bingo night, could double the odds of good health and independence.

According to Nutrition & Healing, while staying active to stay healthy isn’t a new concept, a study in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences goes much further, even spelling out some of the specific activities seniors participate in that could help keep the quality of life high - even when the odds of winning are low.

The link between being active and a lower risk of disability for the elderly

Researchers looked at data on 954 seniors aged of 82 who had been participating in the ongoing Rush Memory and Aging Project in Chicago, where they've been given regular physical exams as well as neurological and neuropsychological tests.

The seniors were also given regular assessments to see how well they did with many of life’s normal activities: Getting dressed, bathing, walking up and down stairs, using a phone, preparing meals and tracking their meds.

Finally, the seniors filled out questionnaires revealing whether and how often they participated in social activities such as going to restaurants, visiting friends, attending sporting events, volunteer work, church services, social clubs and, of course, bingo.

Researchers found that seniors with the busiest social calendars overall were about twice as likely to remain disability-free over the years, compared to those who did the least.

But researchers say bingo, in particular, is a two-for-one deal: Not only does it keep you out and engaged, but the nature of the game requires staying alert and listening to the winning letters and numbers.

So as silly as the game may seem, it’s also got some of the mental gymnastics needed to keep your mind sharp and focused.

And that means you’ll come out ahead, even if you don’t win a prize.

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