Aging

The number of senior citizens and the associated incidence of cognitive impairment and dementing disorders have been growing considerably in recent decades, an increase expected to continue in the future. In Europe, 20% of the population is aged 65 and over, and this is projected to rise to 30% by 2050. In the absence of effective pharmacological therapies, any factor that contributes towards postponing ageing-related cognitive loss has significant personal, social and economic benefits by allowing older adults to function independently for longer, adding quality to their lives and time during which no support from the family or the health care system is required.  In this ongoing line of research, we focus on one such factor that has been suggested to have a beneficial effect on older adults’ cognitive functioning: the regular use of more than one language (bilingualism) or dialect (bidialectalism).  We focus on executive functions, a set of attention- and memory-related processes that regulate cognition and behavior in line with internal goals and current context. These cognitive skills predict the ability to efficiently perform many daily-living activities in older adulthood (e.g., home and money management, medical adherence) and are thus essential for maintaining functional independence during this life period. They also decline with advanced age and, according to some theories, are central in explaining many of the cognitive deficits linked to ageing.

Ongoing

An Investigation of Bidialectalism as a Positive Influence in Cognitive Ageing. Funded by the Cyprus University of Technology through the Postdoctoral internal funding programme (€20,000). Coordinator: Dr Kyriakos Antoniou. In collaboration with Prof. Kakia Petinou.