A study has concluded that middle-aged people living alone have double the risk of developing dementia than married couples.
A team of researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that there was a ‘substantial’ link between marital status and dementia in people aged between 50 and 79.
People living alone who have been widowed or divorced are three times more likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease than those in relationships.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, the researchers said: ‘Living in a relationship with a partner might imply cognitive and social challenges that have a protective effect against cognitive impairment later in life.’
They concluded: ‘There is a substantial and independent association between marital status in mid-life and cognitive function later in life.’
The report also found that women were less likely to develop the illness than men.