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Cognitive Activity is Key to Staying Sharp in Retirement

Posted Oct 15 2013 10:12pm

The more you use your brain – and the more you enjoy doing it the more likely you are to stay mentally sharp in your golden years, so suggest results of a study by researchers from Concordia University. PhD candidate Larry Baer and colleagues, analyzed data collected over 4-years from 333 recent retirees. Results showed that the more a person sought out and enjoyed a variety of cognitively demanding activities, the less likely they were to experience cognitive decline later in life. Results also showed that people who exhibited even mild symptoms of depression were more likely to experience cognitive decline after retirement. "It is my hope that these results will influence the design of future interventions aimed at maintaining the cognitive health of retirees, said Baer. “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."

LH Baer, N Tabri, M Blair, D Bye, KZ Li, D Pushkar. “Longitudinal associations of need for cognition, cognitive activity, and depressive symptomatology with cognitive function in recent retirees.” J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2013;68:655-664.

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