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To maintain lifelong mental acuity, avoid early retirement and repetitive jobs

retirement_roadThis is your brain on retire­ment — not near­ly as sharp, stud­ies are find­ing (The Wash­ing­ton Post):

Retir­ing at 55 and spend­ing the rest of your life relax­ing on the front porch may sound appeal­ing, but if you want your brain to keep work­ing, it’s prob­a­bly not a good idea. Mount­ing evi­dence shows that stay­ing in the work­force into old age is good not only for our bank accounts, but also for our health and men­tal acu­ity Read the rest of this entry »

Why retirement planning should include mental fitness

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Are You Men­tal­ly Fit Enough to Plan for Retire­ment? (Mon­ey):

In this era of “self-direct­ed” retire­ment (no pen­sions, you make all the invest­ment choic­es) post­pon­ing mak­ing a real plan pos­es a par­tic­u­lar risk to future secu­ri­ty. Not only are the logis­tics of plan­ning hard enough—when to col­lect Social Secu­ri­ty, how to bud­get for expens­es, what to do with savings—but the decline in cog­ni­tion that Read the rest of this entry »

Want to train your brain? Work as a physician, air traffic controller, financial analyst (or similar)

Brain Firing NeuronsMen­tal­ly stim­u­lat­ing jobs keep your mind sharp post-retire­ment (Tech Times):

If you want to stay sharp in your gold­en years, it’s best to get the hard yards in ear­ly — a new study has found that peo­ple with men­tal­ly demand­ing jobs fare bet­ter in the years after retirement.…Mental acu­ity and mem­o­ry reten­tion was found to be high­er in retirees who had spent their careers in men­tal­ly stim­u­lat­ing roles, such as Read the rest of this entry »

Augmenting lifelong performance with deliberate practice

Alums-danceWith Will­ing Spir­it, a Reprise for Ailey Dancers (The New York Times):

  • The voice on the phone belonged to Masazu­mi Chaya, the asso­ciate artis­tic direc­tor of Alvin Ailey Amer­i­can Dance The­ater, and he had a star­tling propo­si­tion. Would she — Eliz­a­beth Rox­as-Dobr­ish, 55 years old, Read the rest of this entry »

Promoting Healthy, Meaningful Aging Through Social Involvement: Building an Experience Corps

(Editor’s note: Path­ways respon­si­ble for high­er-order think­ing in the pre­frontal cor­tex (PFC), or exec­u­tive cen­ter of the brain, remain vul­ner­a­ble through­out life—during crit­i­cal ear­ly-life devel­op­men­tal win­dows, when the PFC ful­ly matures in the ear­ly 20s, and final­ly from declines asso­ci­at­ed with old age. At all ages, phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and PFC-nav­i­gat­ed social con­nec­tions are essen­tial com­po­nents to main­tain­ing brain health. The Expe­ri­ence Corps, a com­mu­ni­ty-based social-engage­ment pro­gram, part­ners seniors with local schools to pro­mote pur­pose-dri­ven involve­ment. Par­tic­i­pat­ing seniors have exhib­it­ed imme­di­ate short-term gains in brain regions vul­ner­a­ble to aging, such as the PFC, indi­cat­ing that peo­ple with the most to lose have the most to gain from envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment.)

Over the last decade, sci­en­tists made two key dis­cov­er­ies that reframed our under­stand­ing of the adult brain’s poten­tial to ben­e­fit from life­long envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment. First, they learned that the adult brain remains plas­tic; it can gen­er­ate new neu­rons in response to phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and new expe­ri­ences. Sec­ond, they con­firmed the impor­tance of social con­nect­ed­ness to late-life cog­ni­tive, psy­cho­log­i­cal, and phys­i­cal health. The inte­gra­tion of these find­ings with our under­stand­ing of indi­vid­u­als’ devel­op­men­tal needs through­out life under­scores the impor­tance of the “social brain.” The pre­frontal cor­tex (PFC) is par­tic­u­lar­ly inte­gral to nav­i­gat­ing com­plex social behav­iors and hier­ar­chies over the life course. Read the rest of this entry »

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