Intellectual demands pay dividends in retirement

Don’t be so quick to complain about your demanding job.


An interesting study from Duke University Medical Center found an intellectually demanding job that nurtures thinking may result in better cognitive abilities during retirement, regardless of one’s intelligence, education level, or age.


While the study authors admit the intellectual and physical demands of your job are not the largest factor influencing brain-power as we age, I find it interesting that they posit a number of smaller influences (like an intellectually demanding job) can accumulate to later influence cognitive functioning; something akin to a savings account for your brain that you fill with intellectual deposits your entire life and can withdraw as needed when you get older.


According to HealthDay, the Duke researchers found that cognitive benefits associated with intellectually demanding jobs were greatest among people who had lower scores on intelligence tests in their youth, while physically demanding work was associated with a decrease in cognitive performance later in life.


It’s comforting to know all the hours you put in on your job as administrators, owners and directors of nursing, and all the daily decisions you make that may call on every ounce of intellect and experience you have, are leaving a little deposit in your “brain account” that may keep your brain sharper longer.


I don’t know about you, but studies like these jumpstart my resolve to keep pushing myself, especially mentally, to keep learning and to not shy away from things I know nothing about. Granted, it may be a case of delayed gratification, but the reward my come at a time when I need it the most.

Maureen Hrehocik

Executive Editor

Topics: Articles