According to a recent study by the health and wellness research organization RAND Corporation. The study found that people who retired early showed an increased risk of cognitive decline when compared to their peers who stayed in the workforce longer. Early retirement was associated with a greater risk of poor memory, difficulty concentrating, slower reaction times, and impaired executive functioning—all signs of accelerated cognitive aging. The results were consistent across all age groups studied, suggesting that early retirement may be linked to overall cognitive decline regardless of age.
The researchers suggest that delaying retirement can help reduce this risk. Staying active in work or volunteer activities helps keep our minds sharp and may slow down cognitive decline. Additionally, maintaining good mental and physical health through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications may also help minimize the effects of cognitive decline, regardless of retirement status.
Ultimately, understanding the risks associated with early retirement and taking steps to reduce them is key for anyone considering an early exit from the workforce. Early retirement does not necessarily guarantee cognitive decline, but it can increase your risk—especially if you are not taking proactive steps to maintain your mental and physical health. Taking preventive measures now can help ensure that you stay sharp as you age, no matter what your retirement plans may be.
This study highlights the importance of carefully considering retirement decisions, especially for those who wish to stay mentally sharp into their later years. Early retirement may not be for everyone; taking the necessary precautions now and staying active can help reduce the risk of accelerated cognitive decline in the future.
RAND Corporation (2021). Early Retirement Can Accelerate Cognitive Decline. https://www.rand.org/news/press/2021/01/14.html