Study: early retirement can accelerate dementia
A recent study suggests that early retirement may accelerate cognitive decline and actually increase the risk of dementia.
A study in rural China found that those who stop working at age 60 experience more severe cognitive decline than their peers.
Researchers believe that the brain of most people is more stimulated during work and communication in the office or workplace.
Experts recommend that people do crosswords and read in retirement to stay mentally active and rid themselves of cognitive problems.
The latest study, published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, used data from China’s National Pension Scheme (NRPS).
The NRPS was established in 2009 to support the income of the elderly, consisting of central government contributions and voluntary contributions. Individuals can start participating in the program at the age of 16.
To this day, almost all rural Chinese people aged 60 and over are eligible for the pension plan, which is a voluntary choice, not a mandatory choice.
The researchers analyzed the program with a cognitive survey called the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey (CHARLS) to see how retirement plans affect cognition.
Questions were asked about difficult financial decisions, their health and long-term care.
Pension plan participants reported less regular drinking compared to the previous year, which the researchers say is a positive development. But they also found that participants reported lower rates of voluntary and social interaction than non-users.
As the researchers delved deeper into the analysis, early retirees fared worse on cognitive tests.
The study found that the biggest predictor of cognitive decline is delayed recall, a measure commonly associated with predicting a patient’s dementia.
“NRPS participants reported significantly lower levels of social engagement, as well as significantly lower levels of volunteering and social interaction, than non-participants,” said lead author Plamin Nikolov, Associate Professor of Economics at Binghamton State University of New York (SUNY). ).
The team said they could not be certain that early retirement was the real cause of cognitive decline, and that they did not rule out lifestyle and other social and economic factors.
But Nikolov said there was no doubt that older people should participate in social activities to prevent dementia.
Social engagement and connectedness may simply be the single strongest determinant of cognitive functioning in older age.
Source: Daily Mail