How to Stay Mentally Sharp in Your Retirement Years
New study has three
major findings that forecast cognitive ability in ones senior years
Oct. 2, 2013 - The
more you want to use your brain - and the more you enjoy doing it - the
more likely you are to stay sharp as you age in your retirement years.
This is according to findings recently published in the Journals of
Gerontology: Psychological Sciences by a team of Concordia
University, Montreal, Canada, researchers.
The new study has
three major findings that can help forecast cognitive ability in ones
1. The more one seeks out and enjoys
cognitively demanding activities, the less likely one is to experience
cognitive decline later in life.
2. Doing a variety of different
cognitive activities helps boost brainpower post-retirement.
3. People who exhibit even mild signs of
depression are more likely to show a decline in brainpower once they
leave the office for good.
First author Larry
Baer explains that, retirement usually occurs right around the time
when normal age-related declines in cognitive function come to the fore.
So it is important to understand what is happening to brainpower during
this period and to identify risk factors for mental decline, as well as
factors that will help protect against it.
This study has
Says Baer, it is
my hope that these results will influence the design of future
interventions aimed at maintaining the cognitive health of retirees.
This can be done by focusing on getting people to intensify their
engagement in a variety of cognitive activities even if they have lower
levels of motivation to do so. It is equally important to address
symptoms of depression to help fight against cognitive decline.
Baer, who is
currently a PhD candidate at Concordia, worked with fellow researchers
Nassim Tabri, Mervin Blair and Dorothea Bye, under the leadership of
senior authors Dolores Pushkar and Karen Li.
They used data
collected over four years, from 333 recent retirees. Participants, who
were an average age of 59 and mostly in good health and free of any
serious mobility limitations when the study started, underwent
assessments of cognition, motivation and activities once a year.