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Lufkin medical officials say working later may prevent onset of dementia

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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

Alzheimer's experts have released a new study about how working longer may delay dementia.

At the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston, research is boosting the use it or lose it theory about brain power and staying mentally sharp. East Texas News explains how healthy choices and an active lifestyle can make all the difference in mental health.

Wanda Wesch loves greeting friendly faces as they come into her downtown boutique. The 72-year-old grandmother and owner of Mama Tried opened the store in 2009, and it's just one of the many ways she stays active after she retired.

"I retired and stayed home for a few years and was kind of bored to death and had a lot of depression," Wesch said.

New research shows that people who delay retirement have less risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia.

Monday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference officials said for each additional year of work, the risk of dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent.

"Whether you are working to a later age or retiring, and you continue to stay active, it adds to that idea," said Heather Snyder.

According to the study, work keeps people physically active, socially connected, and mentally active.

Wesch said everyday she opens the doors of her shop, she reaps the benefits of a healthy, active life style.

"You keep your mind busy and active and you've been, where god can bring people into your life and bring joy to you and you bring joy to them," Wesch said.

About 35 million people have dementia and there isn't a known a cure or any treatments that slow its progression. Health officials say simple habits can lead to a healthier life.

"Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, word searches, even exercising period helps, said Rosalind Johnson, a speech therapist for Larkspur.

"Staying active, promoting activity in your brain, keeping healthy and engaged - that could potentially decrease the onset of the symptoms, Snyder said.

Wesch says she takes life day by day and keeps her mind active to enjoy each moment to the fullest.

"If you keep your mind occupied and focused it brings the joy into your life," Wesch said.

Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia in the U.S. About 5 million people have Alzheimer's, and one in nine are age 65 and over.

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