There are a number of important reasons for all individuals to remain active both socially and physically, using all of their potential and abilities as they age. Because people with Down Syndrome tend to gain weight easily and they have less muscle tone than other people, it is even more critical to get them involved with physical activity in order to ensure a healthy middle and older age. Also, although many people with Down Syndrome remain healthy as they get older, there is an increasing risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. In people with Down Syndrome, this risk is much higher because of the extra copy of a gene for the amyloid precursor protein on chromosome 21.
Often times being socially active is also associated with physical exercise and cognitive engagement, both of which can improve brain function. At Cambridge Adult Day Center, daily movement and exercise, tailored to the abilities of our participants, keeps everyone moving. And because the group enjoys these activities together, participants get a social “work out”, too. In addition, table games and crafts, coloring, puzzles and field trips keep the mind engaged
People with Down syndrome are generally living long, productive and healthy lives. Not everyone who has Down Syndrome will go on to develop Alzheimer's Disease but keeping socially active appears to be protective and associated with healthy brain aging. People who have lots of friends, interact frequently with friends and family, are engaged in social groups (e.g. a church or a day center) tend to have less of a risk for developing disease and also have a fuller, richer life as they get older.