Travel chaos: UK 'worst affected' says Simon Calder
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New research on tourism management has found that dementia patients could benefit from travel. The study found there could be significant cognitive benefits.
The study authors noted that travel stimulates thoughts and knowledge which may help dementia patients.
It also puts people in a new environment and encourages social interaction which can stimulate brain function.
Travel also regularly requires holidaymakers to exercise and physical function is known to benefit dementia patients.
Remembering past experiences is also thought to benefit dementia patients and travel may help stimulate memories.
Dr Jun Wen, one of the study’s authors, told Medical News Today: “All tourism experiences offer elements of anticipation and planning, both of which stimulate brain function.
“Exercise is often an important component of tourism experiences, and it is frequently included in dementia intervention plans.
“Tourism experiences such as a beach visit offer dementia patients sensory stimulation, boosting one’s mood, exercise, music therapy, and instilling a sense of freedom as non-medicine dementia interventions.
“Group travel may simulate psychological interventions, and music at a destination is in line with music therapy programs for those with dementia.”
Dr Wen added that it wouldn’t be possible for every dementia patient to travel overseas but a team approach could help.
He said: “From a tourism destination perspective, many opportunities exist for marketing a destination as ‘dementia-friendly.”
In the UK, an estimated 850,000 people are living with dementia, and around seven percent of over 65s have the condition.
Travel can also help to improve mental health more generally as well as boost physical wellbeing.
A 2015 study from the University of Tampere in Finland found that an eight day holiday can reduce stress levels.
However, that could depend on the type of holiday as beaches may be more relaxing than city breaks.
Meanwhile, a study from Cornell University found that just planning a holiday gives people a happiness boost.
Britons could book a holiday in Lisbon, which was recently named as the world’s happiest city.
Meanwhile, the happiest country in the world is Finland with Denmark and Iceland close behind.
Some scientists believe that travel could have a meaningful and positive impact on depression.
Travel also helps British people become more creative, according to research on holidays.
Adam Galinksy, a professor at Columbia Business School, said: “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.”
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