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.