Thinking About Retirement (or just another fine Saturday Morning)

Andel’s suggestion to anyone contemplating retirement: “Find a new routine that’s meaningful.” He points to people living in the Blue Zones, regions of the world that have been identified to be home to a greater number of residents who’ve reached the age of 100 and beyond. One of the common characteristics among Blue Zone inhabitants is, says Andel, “these people all have purpose.”

Think Retirement Is Smooth Sailing? A Look at Its Potential Effects on the Brain — https://getpocket.com/read/2840794990

The funny thing about life at “retirement age” and still working is you think about retirement a lot.

Since I still work a full time job I have a lot of trouble envisioning what my retirement will look like.

After reading this article and listening to Andel’s short talk I am now scared of retirement.

I need to figure out how to avoid brain rot. But my journal tells me I already have.

My Purpose is to educate others on diet and disease, weight loss and weight management by sharing my personal journey through writing and other teaching activities.

Cluttered Memories From a Lifetime of Knowledge

As we age, many of us have difficulty retrieving memories. Researchers propose an explanation for why this might be happening: the brains of older adults allocate more space to accumulated knowledge and have more material to navigate when attempting to access memories.

Cell Press. “Lifetime of knowledge can clutter memories of older adults.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220211111852.htm (accessed February 11, 2022).

But this still doesn’t explain why I can’t remember where I put my coffee cup.

Fatigue and Higher Mortality

Glynn and her colleagues administered the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale to 2,906 participants aged 60 or older in the Long Life Family Study, an international study that follows family members across two generations. Participants ranked from 0 to 5 how tired they thought or imagined that certain activities — such as a leisurely 30-minute walk, light housework or heavy gardening — would make them. Follow-up for this work concluded at the end of 2019, to avoid any increased mortality impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, which gave the team an average of 2.7 years of data on each participant. After accounting for a variety of factors that influence mortality, such as depression, pre-existing or underlying terminal illness, age and gender, the team found that participants who scored 25 points or higher on the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale were 2.3 times more likely to die in the 2.7 years after completing the scale, compared to their counterparts who scored below 25.

University of Pittsburgh. “Feelings of fatigue predict early death in older adults.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220124084616.htm (accessed January 27, 2022).

Exercise Alters Brain Chemistry – May Protect Aging Synapses

When elderly people stay active, their brains have more of a class of proteins that enhances the connections between neurons to maintain healthy cognition.

University of California – San Francisco. “Exercise alters brain chemistry to protect aging synapses: Enhanced nerve transmission seen in older adults who remained active.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220107100955.htm (accessed January 8, 2022).

I was about to write a snarky comment but I forgot what it was.

Journal Reference – Kaitlin Casaletto, Alfredo Ramos‐Miguel, Anna VandeBunte, Molly Memel, Aron Buchman, David Bennett, William Honer. Late‐life physical activity relates to brain tissue synaptic integrity markers in older adults. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 2022; DOI: 10.1002/alz.12530

Trends in Binge Drinking

The study included 18,794 adults aged 65 years and older who participated in the 2015-2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Binge drinking was defined as consuming 5 or more drinks on the same occasion for men and 4 or more drinks for women. Binge drinking among older men increased from 12.8% in 2015 to 15.7% in 2019 but remained stable among older women (7.6% to 7.3%). Having a college degree was associated with a higher risk of binge drinking among women but a lower risk among men. Men who were separated or divorced were also at higher risk, but women were not. Both men and women who reported use of tobacco or cannabis in the past month were at higher risks of binge drinking.

Wiley. “Trends in binge drinking among older men and women in the United States.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/12/211208090023.htm (accessed December 8, 2021).

MIND Your Diet

MIND diet is associated with better cognitive functioning independently of brain pathology, suggesting that the MIND diet may contribute to cognitive resilience in older adults.

Dhana, Klodian et al. ‘MIND Diet, Common Brain Pathologies, and Cognition in Community-Dwelling Older Adults’. 1 Jan. 2021 : 683 – 692. — https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad210107

So, what is the MIND diet?

The traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern includes mainly whole, minimally processed plant foods including cereal grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and fish with small amounts of meat, milk, and dairy products and a regular modest amount of alcohol.4 The DASH diet emphasizes fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and includes whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and is reduced in fats, red meat, sweets, and sugar-containing beverages.4 Combining the two diets, the MIND diet emphasizes natural, plant-based foods, specifically promoting an increase in the consumption of berries and green leafy vegetables, with limited intakes of animal-based and high saturated fat foods.

What Are the Components to the MIND Diet? — https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(15)01251-4/fulltext

I became aware of the MIND diet earlier this year. It’s nice to know my dietary pattern has a name.

Internet Use in Retirement and Cognitive Function

Focusing on a sample of 2,105 older people from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland who have been retired since 2004, researchers examined retirees’ cognitive function in both 2013 and 2015. They specifically focused on a word recall test, where individuals were asked to recall a list of 10 words immediately, and then again five minutes later.

Results found that, on average, people who used the internet after they retired were able to recall 1.22 extra words in the recall test compared to non-internet users. However, retirees who used the internet were also more likely to be male, younger, better educated, and have been retired for a shorter period. They also appear to be in better health — even though they drink and smoke more.

Lancaster University. “Using internet in retirement boosts cognitive function.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210920100910.htm (accessed September 20, 2021).

Biden fires head of Social Security Administration

President Biden on Friday fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, a holdover from the Trump administration, after Saul refused a request to resign from his position.

Biden fires head of Social Security Administration — https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/562342-biden-fires-head-of-social-security-administration

There will be more changes coming to social security.

Higher taxes, no doubt. But also improved benefits for those in need if I’m reading the Tarot cards correctly.