Lufkin medical officials say working later may prevent onset of dementia

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Alzheimer's expertshave released a new study about how working longer may delay dementia.

At the Alzheimer'sAssociation International Conference in Boston, research is boosting the use itor lose it theory about brain power and staying mentally sharp. East Texas Newsexplains how healthy choices and an active lifestyle can make all thedifference in mental health.

Wanda Wesch lovesgreeting friendly faces as they come into her downtown boutique. The 72-year-oldgrandmother and owner of Mama Tried opened the store in 2009, and it's just oneof the many ways she stays active after she retired.

"I retired andstayed home for a few years and was kind of bored to death and had a lot ofdepression," Wesch said.

New research showsthat people who delay retirement have less risk of developing Alzheimer'sdisease or other types of dementia.

Monday at theAlzheimer's Association International Conference officials said for eachadditional year of work, the risk of dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent.

"Whether you areworking to a later age or retiring, and you continue to stay active, it adds tothat idea," said Heather Snyder.

According to thestudy, work keeps people physically active, socially connected, and mentallyactive.

Wesch said everydayshe opens the doors of her shop, she reaps the benefits of a healthy, activelife style.

"You keep yourmind busy and active and you've been, where god can bring people into your lifeand bring joy to you and you bring joy to them," Wesch said.

About 35 millionpeople have dementia and there isn't a known a cure or any treatments that slowits progression. Health officials say simple habits can lead to a healthierlife.

"Crosswordpuzzles, Sudoku, word searches, even exercising period helps, said RosalindJohnson, a speech therapist for Larkspur.

"Staying active,promoting activity in your brain, keeping healthy and engaged - that couldpotentially decrease the onset of the symptoms, Snyder said.

Wesch says she takeslife day by day and keeps her mind active to enjoy each moment to the fullest.

"If you keepyour mind occupied and focused it brings the joy into your life," Wesch said.

Alzheimer's is the most common type ofdementia in the U.S. About 5 million people have Alzheimer's, and one in nineare age 65 and over.

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