If anyone needed further evidence that they should be part of Village Square, here is scientific proof: It can help stave off dementia.

Thats the conclusion of a study by a researcher with the Rush University Alzheimers Disease Center in Chicago. In following 1,600 older adults since 1997, researcher Robert Wilson and his team found that those who were most active in late life showed a 32 percent slower rate of decline than those who maintained an average level of mental activity. More tellingly, the least-active had a 48 percent faster fall into dementia.

The data he collected demonstrate that staying intellectually stimulated can help slow memory loss and lessen the onset of dementia. That is the reverse of the common theory that it is encroaching disease that causes cognitive inactivity. This adds to a growing body of research that concludes that keeping the brain busy with reading, writing and learning new things is the best way to stay mentally sharp into the 80s and beyond.

So, what does this have to do with Village Square at SPC? Well, Village Square is all about intellectual stimulation. The programs help attendees learn new things. They encourage participants to think and to engage in discussion about topical issues. That may lead to further reading and research to dig deeper into the topic being discussed. Ergo: Adios, dementia demons.

How to join Village Square? Its simple: Go to spcollege.edu/solutions, and click the Village Square tab.

By David Klement, Executive Director

Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions

St. Petersburg College