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How victory in the semis will aid dementia patients

Monday July 9th, 2018

World Cup victory on Wednesday night will lead to days of replays of England’s 1966 triumph – and this may benefit many elderly people with dementia, according to a senior doctor.

The England squad in Russia have already achieved their best result for 28 years – and victory in the semi-finals would mean them playing in the finals for the first time since 1966.

Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England clinical director for dementia, said that watching classic football matches was hugely beneficial for many people with dementia.

He said that the replays would rekindle powerful emotional memories – potentially unlocking further memory recall and strengthening brain activity.

He said: “As well as being great physical exercise, there is a positive link between watching classic football matches and keeping the mind active. For people in old age and dealing with dementia, rewatching matches can rekindle past memories, connect people with their past and keep the brain active.

“Johann Cruyff was right when he said that football is a game you play with your mind, and sport of any kind has a unique power to keep the brain going.”

Age UK highlighted further benefits from the England success, pointing out that families and friends getting together to watch the games would create opportunities for the elderly to engage with others.

Tony Jameson-Allen, of the charity Sporting Memories, said: “Be it Kenneth Wolstenholme’s iconic commentary as Sir Geoff Hurst scored his hat trick, Nobby Stiles doing a jig of delight or Bobby Moore being hoisted onto the team’s shoulders holding aloft the Jules Rimet Trophy, these great moments can bring back wonderful, positive memories, that can be used to unite generations to tackle three of the biggest challenges facing an ageing population; dementia, depression and loneliness.”

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Europe | Fitness | Mental Health | UK News | World Health

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