What you should know about work and aging brain health

There is no shortage of men and women in the upper echelons of politics who work well beyond normal retirement age.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who turns 90 next month, has said she will not run for re-election in 2024but she remains the oldest member of the US Senate, despite a recent extended medical absence and questions about her mental capacity. In the 2024 presidential election, voters will likely face a standoff between President Biden, who will turn 82 next November, and former President Trump, who will be 78.

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Experts say working into old age can be beneficial and improve life expectancy – but only if it is voluntary; forced to do so for financial reasons has the opposite effect. Still, many Americans are opposed to elder statesmen taking over decision-making. According to a recent poll, 41% say age hurts members of Congress by making their jobs “more difficult” rather than helping them with “wisdom and experience.”

So what are the cognitive challenges of working as an older adult – and what can aging professionals bring to the table?

What happens to the brain as we get older?

A doctor looks at a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) film showing a neurodegenerative disease in an aging patient. (Getty Images)

That’s what the National Institute on Aging says that as we get older, not only does our body look different, but physical changes also occur in the brain. Certain areas of the brain begin to shrink, “particularly those important for learning and other complex mental activities”; Communication between nerve cells in certain regions may not be as effective. there is more inflammation; and “blood flow to the brain may decrease.”

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These physical changes can also be accompanied by changes in mental function, but experts say…

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