As we approach the end of the year some of you may be heading towards your last few days or weeks of employment.  For some others, the date for retirement is another calendar year closer.  That is why I want to share with you an article I stumbled across this week on research done in China, which shows evidence of cognitive decline in people who stopped work completely and lived off a pension.  I tend to go on about how many of us simply want to carry on working for the stimulation and the feeling of purpose, of belonging, but here is research showing that it is also important for preventing cognitive decline.  (https://www.passitonnetwork.org/2019Nov/retirement-cognitive-decline-research-in-china.pdf  )

The researchers followed a formal pension programme that the Chinese government implemented in the rural parts of the country.  The findings indicated a fall-off in recall which is used widely to predict dementia.  And….oops yes, they found it to be worse in women!

Ironically, they found the pension payment resulted in improved health because of reduced stress, better sleep etc.  But, the overall finding was that the negative effect on social engagement, and lack of mental stimulation with resultant cognitive decline over-rode the positive benefits of improved health.

As you know, I strongly advocate that “working” in retirement does not have to mean a 9-5 job.  The importance lies in the mental stimulation, getting out and meeting new people, feeling a sense of belonging, and having some form of structure or routine for your week, to mention but a few positive spin-offs from a “work” life.  And last, but not least, we need to learn new things all the time and to feel a sense of contribution.

So, as we reach the end of the year and the decade,  I would like you to bear this in mind as you set your goal for 2020.

Which leaves the opening for me to say that this will be my last blog for 2019.  Somehow I find myself low on creative energy and am going to put writing on hold till next year.  As many of you know, I am moving out of the city (looks like February could be the date) and my energies are focussed on finalizing house plans, co-ordinating builders, and finding a place to rent while I build.

For 2020 you can probably expect blogging to focus around downscaling, reinventing oneself and starting afresh – as that is what I will be doing!!  I won’t be offended if you unsubscribe but I think it is going to be an exciting journey!  So, watch this space.

I would like to wish all of you a truly wonderful Festive Season.  Here in the Southern Hemisphere is all gets a little hectic because it is combined with our mid-summer holiday, but remember everything in moderation is healthy and there to be enjoyed – be that sun, partying, alcohol, food … whatever!

All of the best for 2020,