A recent study of nearly half a million French retirees indicates a 3.2% decrease in the risk of dementia for each year spent on the job, the AP reports.
The study, carried out by France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research, drew from more than 429,000 health records, and revealed that workers who retire at the age of 65, for instance, are 15% less likely to develop dementia than peers who retire at 60.
Researchers further ensured the accuracy of the results, which were revealed at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Boston Monday, by conducting the same study three times: once with the complete subject pool, once excluding workers who began exhibiting dementia within five years of retirement, and a final time excluding workers who began exhibiting signs of the condition within ten years of leaving the workforce. The same pattern held true in all three tests, suggesting that retirement was driving mental deterioration and not the other way around.
One possible explanation for this correlation is that working requires a level of mental, social, and physical engagement, all of which are known factors in keeping mentally sharp.
Roughly 35 million people around the world are suffering from dementia, the most common form of which is Alzheimer’s. 11% of Americans over the age of 65 are affected by the latter disease.