TCD study aims to maintain the health of the ageing brain

RelAte at TCD
TCD researchers are investigating whether a good diet and active social life can help keep the brain’s of older people healthy for longer (Credit: Photocase)

TCD researchers are set to explore whether older people can be kept mentally and physically healthy for longer by simply eating nutritious meals in the company of others.

This is the core question that will be investigated by scientists at the Neuro-Enhancement for Independent Lives (NEIL) programme based at the Institute of Neuroscience.

The RelAte project will tackle the  issues of malnutrition and social isolation by tapping into the 1 in 5 older adults in Ireland (over 55) who are already active volunteers in their communities to delivering a mealtime intervention to socially isolated older adults.

The project emphasizes the social aspects of mealtimes and the volunteers will not only give the individuals taking part in the study nutritional advice, but will also spend time with them, planning and preparing the meals which they will eat together.

The TCD researchers are looking to recruit 50 volunteers aged over 55 that will engage with older people at risk of social isolation, as well as 100 socially isolated individuals over 60.

The most recently published report by the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing shows that 6% of adults aged over 60 are at risk of social isolation, affecting men and women in equal parts.

For information about the study, or if you are interested in participating, please contact project coordinator Dr Joanna McHugh or call 01 896 8414.