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Punching the Clock
Photo: Scott Griessel
Last October, at an annual chaplain’s retreat, a group of us sat around a table munching on salad and sharing our views on world events. Obama had not yet been elected, so the presidency was still up for grabs. But even bigger news was the stock market crash and the speculation of where it would all end.

Sixty five-year-old, Carl Wayne, a fellow pastor, cleared his throat and soberly announced he had just lost $18,000 in his 401K. The table remained quiet as he went on to say he would not be retiring in ’09 as previously planned. Instead, Carl intends to work a few more years in an effort to rebuild his deflated nest egg.

Perhaps you too know someone in this situation. Conceivably, and even closer to home, you may have put off your own retirement due to the current economic crises. Stock market losses, depreciating home values and shrinking wages have brought devastating losses for some, pushing back retirement dates several years, at best. Even so, a new study reveals there may be a silver lining to this dark, economic cloud.

Later Age

Considering factors such as employment, education and age of retirement, a recent study examined the work lives of 1,300 men and women diagnosed with dementia. Researchers at Kings College, London Institute of Psychiatry found that one factor was consistent in establishing when a person might begin to show signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Those who took a later retirement did not exhibit disease symptoms until a later age!

In fact, researchers discovered that for every extra year a person staved off retirement and continued to work, the progression of Alzheimer’s and similar diseases was arrested by six weeks.

Simon Lovestone, one of the study’s co-authors, remarked in a press conference, “The intellectual stimulation that older people gain from the workplace may prevent a decline in mental abilities, thus keeping people above the threshold for dementia longer.”

So, while punching the clock a few more years may not be something you savor, it just might add significant quality to the days you have left.

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By Kathy A. Lewis. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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