A study conducted by Dorina Cadar of the University College London suggests that poverty may increase the risk of dementia among the elderly, by as much as 50%.
“Our study confirms that the risk of dementia is reduced among well-off older people compared with those who have fewer economic resources,” said lead researcher Cadar.
Cadar is associated with the department of behavioral science and health at the University.
There are several ways being poor can increase senior’s risk for dementia, Cadar explained. There is often a great deal of difference between the lifestyles of those with enough money and those without enough, which can cause the association. People with secure finances have more social and cultural opportunities, which help them stay more engaged with the world.
The director of the Mount Sinai Center for Cognitive Health and NFL Neurological Care in New York City, Dr. Sam Gandy, noted that it could be that the dementia is what led to the poverty, and not the other way around.
“Poor financial management may be an early sign of dementia, such that financial resources are depleted late in life,” he suggested. “This may also be a manifestation of executive thinking dysfunction, such as paying bills multiple times, or poor judgment and vulnerability to scam artists.”
Cadar said that “the incidence of dementia appeared to be socioeconomically patterned, primarily by the level of wealth.”