Bilingual Seniors Retain Quicker Mental Skills, Stave off Dementia


A study from the Journalism of Neuroscience reports, “Seniors between the ages of 60 and 68 who had spoken two languages for the majority of their lives were faster at switching from one mental task to another compared to monolingual seniors.”
In discussing the mental benefits of bilingualism on the elderly, the article reported that Brian Gould, of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine said that the results, “suggest that lifelong bilingualism may exert its strongest benefits on the functioning of frontal brain regions in aging.” Bilingualism may reduce the development of early onset dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
While it is still uncertain whether there is a “cause and effect” relationship between “language skills and brain activity,” a similar study conducted by researchers in Ontario Canada found that “the cognitive reserve, which allowed the mind to run smoother, longer,” allowed elderly, bilingual individuals to better cope with the progressive deterioration of the brain, than non-bilingual individuals.
Similar studies were conducted by researchers at Stanford University and in 2012 in Ontario, Canada.