CEUnits Blog

The Reality of an Aging Population: Is Freedom 55 Attainable?


August 24th, 2015

Good Health is the Best Wealth

By Megan Ferguson

Dementia is a debilitating illness that is characterized by degeneration of memory, cognition, behavior and the ability to perform activities of daily living. Approximately 35.6 million people worldwide have dementia and there are 7.7 million new cases every year and this is subject to continually increase as consequence of population aging and the projected increase of the aging population. In addition, although dementia mainly affects older adults, it is not attributed to an age-related change as it may lead to disability and lack of independence among older adults around the world. Although incidences of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease, have been rapidly increasing, no treatment has been developed to cure the disease or reverse its deterioration of the brain and individuals’ functioning capacity. Therefore, research needs to take place to establish inexpensive ways to help individuals reduce their risk of dementia and maintain cognitive function. Recent studies suggest that people who delay retirement have a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. However, researchers believe that the age of onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is affected by many more complex risk factors and protective factors that extend beyond simply delaying retirement, which makes this topic relevant to the future health of older adults.

Therefore, since the amount of people with dementia is expected to double by 2040, it is evident that a means to reduce the risk of dementia needs to be developed. However, older adults must decide what activities will be the most effective in helping them maintain cognitive and mental health throughout old age. For some this may be continuing to work or retirement, depending on their current occupation and job satisfaction or other unique ways of exercising their brains that will work for them. Due to the growing aging population and growing risk of dementia in the aging population, Freedom 55 may be attainable for some; however, not for all.

References

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Beeri, M.S. & Goldbourt, U. (2011). Late-life dementia predicts mortality beyond
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Lupton, M.K., Stahl, D., Artcher, N., Foy, C., Poppe, M., Lovestone, S. et al. (2009).
Education, occupation and retirement age effects on age of onset of Alzheimer’s
disease. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 25, 30-36.

Kryscio, R.J., Abner, E.L., Lin, Y., Cooper, G.E., Fardo, D.W. et al. (2013). Adjusting
for mortality when identifying risk factors for transitions to mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 35, 823-832.

Marchione, M. (2013, July 15). Delaying retirement can delay dementia, large study
finds. The Associated Press. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/health/delaying-retirement-can-delay-dementia-large-study-finds-6C10637029.

World Health Organization (2012). Dementia Retrieved November 15, 2013 from

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/.




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