Being employed seems to reduce the onset of dementia in women later on in life.
In the USA, 6 thousand women took part in the Health and Retirement study. Rates of memory decline were around 50% faster in those women who did not work for pay in the years after having children. Regardless of marital status and whether they had children, women who worked for pay in early adulthood and midlife showed slower rates of later life memory decline.
My comment: I wonder if the 80 years full time equivalent that I’ve racked up for the NHS will stand me in good stead then?
Once you are old, both men and women’s rates of memory decline from Alzheimer’s greatly accelerates if either experience the death of their spouse.
The Harvard Ageing Brain study did PET scans of participants’ brains at recruitment. They then had annual cognitive assessments. Those who had higher amyloid in the brain to star with deteriorated faster whether they were married or not, but the steepest drop occurred in those whose who were widowed.