MONDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Retiring at an older age is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a study presented at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 13 to 18 in Boston.
Carole Dufouil, Ph.D., from the Bordeaux School of Public Health in France, and colleagues analyzed health and insurance records as well as pension databases for more than 429,000 self-employed workers in France. Dementia was defined based on diagnosis code or dementia medication claim.
The researchers found that workers had been retired on average for more than 12 years. In this group, the prevalence of dementia was 2.65 percent. The risk of being diagnosed with dementia was lower for each year of working longer (hazard ratio, 0.968). The results remained unchanged and highly significant even when workers who had dementia diagnosed within the five years following retirement were excluded.
"Professional activity may be an important determinant of intellectual stimulation and mental engagement, which are thought to be potentially protective against dementia," Dufouil said in a statement. "As countries around the world respond to the aging of their populations, our results highlight the importance of maintaining high levels of cognitive and social stimulation throughout work and retired life, and they emphasize the need for policies to help older individuals achieve cognitive and social engagement."