Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Delaying Retirement Might Prevent Alzheimer's and other Types of Dementia

By Pat Rarus

Financial planners often tout the importance of delaying retirement for financial gain. More vital than capital, however, is one’s mental and physical health. These priceless assets transcend a high net worth and the upscale lifestyle it supports.

USA Today cited research from France last year involving nearly half a million people− the largest study to date to analyze work and mental health.  Associated Press writers Marilynn Marchione and Lindsey Tanner wrote the article in July 2013.
From the article:

 Working tends to keep people physically active, socially connected and mentally challenged — all things known to help prevent mental decline.
"For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2%," said Carole Dufouil, a scientist at INSERM, the French government's health research agency. She led the study and gave results at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston on Monday.

About 35 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer's is the most common type. In the U.S., about 5 million have Alzheimer's — 1 in 9 people aged 65 and over. What causes the mind-robbing disease isn't known and there is no cure or any treatments that slow its progression.

France has had some of the best Alzheimer's research in the world, partly because its former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, made it a priority. The country also has detailed health records on self-employed people who pay into a Medicare-like health system.

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

Nearly 3% had developed dementia but the risk of this was lower for each year of age at retirement. Someone who retired at 65 had about a 15% lower risk of developing dementia compared to someone retiring at 60, after other factors that affect those odds were taken into account, Dufouil said.

To rule out the possibility that mental decline may have led people to retire earlier, researchers did analyses that eliminated people who developed dementia within 5 years of retirement, and within 10 years of it.

"The trend is exactly the same," suggesting that work was having an effect on cognition, not the other way around, Dufouil said.

France mandates retirement in various jobs — civil servants must retire by 65, she said. The new study suggests "people should work as long as they want" because it may have health benefits, she said.

You can read the article here
Peggy Sigler, 87, a longtime San Diego (Point Loma) resident, worked about 50 hours a week at a start-up company until age 70. After retiring from her paid position, Peggy volunteered for a variety of causes. Currently, she serves as president of the GA Retirees Organization.

Recently, Peggy− a lifelong expert at planning special events− volunteered to help with an event to honor San Diego teachers aboard the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

“Working in either a paid or voluntary position keeps your mind active and engaged,” Peggy said, as she prepared for yet another meeting. “I love being busy and helping others.”

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