YSU researcher presents findings on isolation and dementia at virtual Alzheimer’s Association conference

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Tiffany Hughes said quarantine has been especially difficult for older adults

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A Youngstown State professor presented research and answered questions Thursday at the virtual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Tiffany Hughes has been at YSU for six years, with an interest in older adults and their health.

She’s remained a co-investigator on a project at Pitt, which has used data and found there are a lot of things surrounding this pandemic that are related to isolation and loneliness.

Two of them are older adults being at greater risk for developing dementia and that those already suffering from impairment are more likely to become lonely.

“Neither of those situations are good,” Hughes said. “So I think we need to address isolation and loneliness for those who are at risk for dementia and those who already have dementia as well.”

“Just secondary to the quarantining and just having to be apart from people, it’s an increased risk,” said Cheryl Kanetsky, with the Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio.

The Alzheimer’s Association has heard from many family caregivers who have noticed a decline in their loved one’s health during COVID-19. It believes social isolation increases the risk of depression and anxiety.

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