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Cultural Activities Help Seniors Retain Health Literacy
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Cultural Activities Help Seniors Retain Health Literacy

• November 25, 2014 • 3:30 PM

If there’s one skill you don’t want to lose as you get older, it’s the ability to read and understand a medicine bottle label. So whatever you do, don’t stop going to concerts or the theater.

Granted, that sounds like a non sequitur. But, strangely enough, it isn’t.

A new British study of people age 50 and older finds a link between health literacy—defined as “the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information”—and two specific behaviors: Regular use of the Internet, and participation in cultural activities.

“Loss of health literacy skills during aging is not inevitable,” a research team led by Lindsay Kobayashi of University College London writes in the Journal of Epidemiology and Health. “Internet use and engagement in various social activities, in particular cultural activities, appear to help older adults maintain the literary skills required to self-manage health.”

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