The first thing that stands out about Mary1 is her restlessness. At 87 years of age, Mary is a familiar figure pacing the hallways at a local assisted living facility for seniors, her small frame practically bouncing with energy. Every time I walk through the door, Mary practically skips over to me in delight, loudly proclaiming, “How ya doin,’ honey?” before bombarding me with questions on when the next activity starts. Her face beams a warm smile as she searches tirelessly for a puzzle or movie, anything to keep herself preoccupied with a task more interesting than the last.
Dementia, including that caused by Alzheimer's disease, has become one of the most important (affecting 45 million people) and costly (US$600 billion per year) health problems in our aging world. Yet, we are still far from finding a cure. Fortunately, several recent studies have found a connection between playing board games and preventing dementia. This quote from a very recent research article sums it up nicely: