Social and leisure activities and risk of dementia: a prospective longitudinal study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1995 May;43(5):485-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1995.tb06093.x.


Objective: To study the relationship between social and leisure activities and risk of subsequent dementia in older community residents.

Setting: A cohort study of people aged 65 and older were followed-up 1 and 3 years after a baseline screening (the Paquid study).

Participants: 2040 older subjects living at home in Gironde (France) were randomly selected and followed for at least 3 years.

Data collection: Information about social and leisure activities was collected during the baseline screening with an interview by a psychologist. Incident cases of dementia were detected during the first and third year follow-up screenings according to the DSM-III-R criteria.

Main results: All but one of the social and leisure activities noted were significantly associated with a lower risk of dementia. Only golden club participation was not significantly associated with this risk. After adjustment for age and cognitive performance measured by the Mini-Mental State Exam, visual memory test, and verbal fluency test, only traveling (Relative risk (RR) = .48,95% Confidence Interval (95% CI) = .24-.94), odd jobs or knitting (RR = .46,95% CI = .26-.85), and gardening (RR = .53, 95% CI = .28-.99) remained significant.

Conclusions: Regular participation in social or leisure activities such as traveling, odd jobs, knitting, or gardening were associated with a lower risk of subsequent dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Dementia / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors