Delaying retirement may lower risk of getting dementia: Study

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(Xinhuanet) – People who delay retirement may have less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, according to researchers at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston on Monday.

Although what causes the mind-robbing disease, Alzheimer’s, isn’t known and there are no effectual treatments that slow its progression, working tends to keep people physically active, socially connected and mentally challenged — all things known to help prevent mental decline.

Researchers studied records on more than 429,000 workers, most of whom shopkeepers or craftsmen such as bakers and woodworkers. They were 74 on average and had been retired for an average of 12 years.

“For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent,” said Carole Dufouil, a scientist at INSERM, the French government’s health research agency.

Someone who retired at 65 had about a 15 percent lower risk of developing dementia compared to someone retiring at 60, after other factors that affect those odds were taken into account, Dufouil said.

But the study results don’t mean everyone needs to delay retirement.

Heather Snyder, director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer’s Association, said: “It is important that staying cognitively active, staying socially active and being engaged in whatever it is that’s enjoyable to you.”

“My parents are retired but they’re busier than ever. They’re taking classes at their local university, they’re continuing to attend lectures and they’re continuing to stay cognitively engaged and socially engaged in their lives,” Snyder added.

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