Many of us dream of an early retirement.
But… is it good for us? Or will our health pay the ultimate price?
Well, according to new research, the answer to that question might surprise you.
Because those golden years could fade into the abyss for some.
Less engagement equals less brainpower
Researchers found early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline among the elderly.
They pulled data from CHARLS, a nationally representative survey of people ages 45 and older within the Chinese population, that analyzed cognition—with a focus on episodic memory and components of intact mental status.
Researchers studied cognitive decline from an economic standpoint, looking at pension systems (which is similar to our social security). Ultimately, they found that access to retirement plans plays a significant role in explaining cognitive decline at older ages.
In other words, those with a pension were able to retire—and therefore, might choose to do so at an earlier age. But… while they were physically healthier, they engaged less with their peers.
And that’s dangerous.
After all, social isolation is strongly linked to faster cognitive decline among the elderly.
In this analysis, the most significant indicator of cognitive decline was delayed recall, an important predictor of dementia.
And this supports the notion that the less you need to use your brain, the worse your cognitive will become. (This is a standard argument against retirement.)
This is not to say we should continue working our entire lives away. Rather, the point here is this…
Many people define themselves by their work. I mean, it’s one of the main focuses in our lives for decades. Perhaps you can imagine—or know firsthand—what happens when that routine stops!
(We sort of had a mini “retirement” during COVID—and look at the devastating social consequences we all had to face, and may still be facing. Let that be a relatable wake-up call.)
So if you’re already retired… or you’re considering retirement… make sure you have a plan. Continue to engage with others as often as possible. And put your brain “to work” with board games, puzzles, reading, dancing—anything you find enjoyable.
(Cognitive, physical, and social activities all help protect cognition.)
Bottom line? We have to maintain activities that foster mental acuity and a good quality of life. Isn’t that what we all strive for anyway?
P.S. There are many ways to help keep dementia at bay. That’s why I have outlined a comprehensive, all-natural protocol in my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan. Click here to learn more!
“Research shows that early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline.” EurekAlert!, 01/10/2023. (eurekalert.org/news-releases/976070)