People who retire early suffer from accelerated cognitive decline and may even encounter early onset of dementia, according to a new economic study (Note: opens PDF) I conducted with my doctoral student Alan Adelman.
To establish that finding, we examined the effects of a rural pension program China introduced in 2009 that provided people who participated with a stable income if they stopped working after the official retirement age of 60. We found that people who participated in the program and retired within one or two years experienced a cognitive decline equivalent to a drop in general intelligence of 1.7% relative to the general population. This drop is equivalent to about three IQ points and could make it harder for someone to adhere to a medication schedule or conduct financial planning. The largest negative effect was in what is called “delayed recall,” which measures a person’s ability to remember something mentioned several minutes ago. Neurological research links problems in this area to an early onset of dementia. [Read more…] about Study in China finds that retirement may accelerate cognitive decline, even for those with stable income