As people age, the risk of dementia increases substantially1. If we could delay the onset of dementia there would be enormous benefits for the psychological well-being of people and their loved ones, and also for the strained healthcare and social sectors. Research has demonstrated that social, physical and cognitive activity in later life is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Volunteering is one option we might consider.

Volunteering as a natural remedy to postpone dementia

Some experts have argued that the interplay of social, physical and cognitive activity in later life is highly beneficial in reducing memory impairment and dementia risk. This interplay between the three typically happens in volunteering work activities. Bearing this in mind, Griep and colleagues2 set out to investigate whether this were true for seniors who do volunteering work.

To find out, Griep and colleagues followed 1001 seniors and divided them in three groups: 1) no volunteering activities (N=531), 2) discontinuously volunteering (N=220) and 3) continuous volunteering (N=250). Their outcome measurements were  1) self-reported cognitive complaints measured by a questionnaire, and 2) likelihood receiving anti-dementia medication.

The results indicated that those retired seniors who continuously volunteered showed a significant decrease in cognitive complaints in 2012 and 2014. Also, they were less likely to be prescribed anti-dementia medication. The researchers found that those who occasionally volunteered or did not volunteer at all, could expect no decrease of cognitive complaints.

The investigators concluded that the results support the notion that retired seniors who continuously engage in voluntary work, compared to those who did not engage or who engaged only occasionally, are at lower risk for self-reported cognitive complaints and being prescribed an anti-dementia treatment.

Note: Volunteering as a senior appeared to be a natural remedy to postpone the risk of developing dementia. It also provides you with the opportunity to give positively to others in the community.

Home4All is always looking for new volunteers to assist us in creating happy days for our visitors with dementia. If you are interested in providing a happy day to those that have dementia, come and contact us at

Below is a graph indicating the global prevalence of dementia by age group for male and female in 2019 and estimated figures for 20503.




1. For people aged between 65 and 69, around 2 in every 100 people have dementia. A person’s risk then increases as they age, roughly doubling every five years. This means that, of those aged over 90, around 33 in every 100 people have dementia (Source:
2. Griep Y, Hanson LM, Vantilborgh T, Janssens L, Jones SK, Hyde M. Can volunteering in later life reduce the risk of dementia? A 5-year longitudinal study among volunteering and non-volunteering retired seniors. PLoS One. 2017 Mar 16;12(3):e0173885. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0173885. PMID: 28301554; PMCID: PMC5354395.
3. GBD 2019 Dementia Forecasting Collaborators. Estimation of the global prevalence of dementia in 2019 and forecasted prevalence in 2050: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Lancet Public Health. 2022 Feb;7(2):e105-e125. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00249-8. Epub 2022 Jan 6. PMID: 34998485; PMCID: PMC8810394.



Contact Jan Weststrate on 021 897 605 or email