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A potential ticket to avoiding depression

By Lynn Hutley, health enews, a news service from Advocate Aurora Health Care

A trip to the theatre, a cinema or a museum might be the ticket for seniors looking to avoid depression.

A British study found that older adults who participated in a cultural engagement activity such as going to an art museum, a cinema or an opera every few months had a 32 percent less risk for developing depression. Those who attended once a month or more had a 48 percent less risk.

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, examined data from more than 2,000 adults ages 50 and above over a 10-year period. All of those studied were free from depression at the start of the study.

Study authors stated that many factors of cultural engagement, including social interaction, mental creativity, cognitive stimulation and gentle physical activity, could be contributors to the results. Other experts agree.

“For people who are depressed, one of the worst things they can do is to sit around and be idle,” says Dr. Kevin Krippner, a psychologist with Advocate Medical Group in Bloomington, Ill. “Sitting around seems to make people more depressed, as the tendency is to sit and think about the things in life that are not going well. As such, getting out and doing things seems to help people feel better. Going to the movies or a museum are great activities, especially if they are attended along with friends or family.”

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