Delaying Cognitive Decline: The Impact of Returning to Work

According to a new study from Luxembourg, returning to work can stall the cognitive decline caused by retiring. This article examines how remaining in the workforce can slow most people’s cognition loss.

How Was The Study Conducted?

The study’s researchers examined databases of more than 43,000 men and women ages 43 and older from the United States and South Korea.

What Were Its Findings?

After analyzing the employment records and performance evaluations of cognitive tasks, the researchers discovered that leaving the labor market hurts the cognitive state of adults in both countries.

However, individuals in South Korea who returned to the workforce experienced an improvement in their cognitive status, while this phenomenon did not generally manifest in the Americans.

According to experts, the differences may be caused by cultural differences between both countries, but emphasize that performing mentally stimulating work can preserve cognitive functions.

What Are The Extra Benefits of Returning to Work?

Going back to work after retirement can help you achieve financial stability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10.8% of those above 65 were part of the workforce. Between 2014 and 2024, the labor force growth rate is projected to be 55% for 65-74 year-olds and 86% for workers 75 years and older.

While this has been a decades-long trend, it’s also connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the AARP, 1.7 million people who retired during the pandemic are reversing their retirement. Some individuals are doing so to boost their retirement accounts in response to inflation, while others want the social interactions of their pre-retirement life.

Reversing your retirement can also offer the following benefits:

Help You Stay Sharp

When you work in retirement, you exercise your brain in new ways by interacting with different people or learning new technology.

Find a Purpose

If you’re not primarily chasing a paycheck, you can focus on a job that gives you great pleasure rather than great pay. This increases your satisfaction when returning to work.

Create a Community

Retirement can feel isolating, so returning to the workforce can help you create a new sense of community and connection with others. This also helps you build friendships with people you can interact with beyond retirement.

Insurance and Benefits

Returning to work can offer access to retirement plans and health insurance, which are valuable to your post-retirement life.


A new study has shown that returning to work after retirement can prevent cognitive decline, help you build finances, and find purpose. If you’re considering resuming work, you should consider a role that lets you enjoy these benefits with no added stress.