Positive mental wellbeing is related to better brain health among older adults and can even reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline later in life according to a new report launched by the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH).

Age UK, a founding collaborator in the GCBH, is highlighting the evidence contained in the report that shows that feeling good, functioning well and being able to cope with life’s challenges are all related to better brain health as we age.

Whereas, poor mental wellbeing – like having feelings of hopelessness and pessimism - may interfere with the ability to think and reason as we get older, how we interact with others and how we manage emotions.

Patients can improve and maintain mental wellbeing as they age by living healthily, learning how to manage stress and anxiety, and engaging in things that give them a sense of purpose.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “Even though some people’s thinking skills can decline as we get older - it isn’t an inevitable part of ageing, and we’re learning more and more about what impacts on brain ageing, and what we can do to maintain good brain health later in life.

“The importance of this report is the connection it makes between positive mental wellbeing and better-thinking skills in later life, because our sense of mental wellbeing is something we can take steps to improve in the same way that avoiding things like smoking, excess alcohol or a poor diet can help to reduce the risk of developing some forms of dementia and cognitive decline”.

Based on the evidence available in the report, the GCBH states that:

  • Greater mental wellbeing is associated with a reduced risk of dementia.
  • It is possible to improve the sense of mental well-being, regardless of age or physical condition.
  • Relating well to others and having good emotional control is key to mental wellbeing.