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Older Visitors

People over the age of 50 who visit museums regularly show a lower risk of dementia.

The measure

People over the age of 50 who visit museums regularly show a lower risk of dementia.

The research

Recent psychology research has indicated that regular museum attendance (once every three months or more) is associated with a lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and illnesses that result in progressive loss of the power of the brain.

In Cultural engagement and cognitive reserve: museum attendance and dementia incidence over a 10-year period, Fancourt, et al, have used data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging to show that for adults aged 50 and older visiting museums every few months or more was associated with a lower incidence rate of dementia over a 10-year follow-up period. The findings from the study were found to be valid across demographics, socioeconomic status, and health-related variables, and indicate that visiting museums offers support in the prevention of dementia.

Museums and older visitors

Scotland’s museums welcome both a high percentage of over-50s, and offer substantial volunteering opportunities for retired people, making a clear impact on the long-term mental health of our population.

Collecting your evidence

When sharing this statement, we would encourage our museums to communicate how their own museum makes a contribution. This could include the proportion of their visitors who are 50 or older, or providing information about the demographics of their volunteers. 

Reference

Daisy Fancourt, Andrew Steptoe and Dorina Cadar, Cultural engagement and cognitive reserve: museum attendance and dementia incidence over a 10-year period (2018)

What to do next

Please explore our advocacy materials to better understand how you can effectively use this information within your wider organisational advocacy approach.