Postponing retirement may delay dementia

Postponing retirement may delay dementia

According to a new study, French researchers found that those who delay their retirement have a reduced risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. The study evaluated the health records of nearly half a million French citizens, making it one of the largest studies ever conducted on the topic.

The researchers found that nearly three percent of the study participants had developed some form of dementia. However, the risk was lowered each year retirement was delayed. For example, a person retiring at age 65 had about a 15 percent lower chance of developing dementia than someone who retired at age 60, according to the study’s lead author, Carole Dufouil, who spoke to the Associated Press.

“For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent,” Dufouil says.

The study results were presented Monday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston.

Dr. Daniel Litoff, geriatrician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, says the results are encouraging, and speculated on two possible factors for the results.

“The people who worked longer may be more mentally active, keeping their minds more stimulated,” Dr. Litoff says. “And they may also be more physically active—getting up, going to work, having a regular routine. We know that physical activity also decreases cognitive decline.”

Though he says the activity doesn’t necessarily have to be work-related.

“This doesn’t mean that people need to work forever. If you do retire, just continue to be physically and mentally active—volunteer in the community, spend time with family. Retirement isn’t about sitting around in a rocking chair. It’s about pursuing the things in your life that you enjoy.”

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.