A new study shows that women who do paid work are less likely of memory loss than those women who do unpaid work. The research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles says that women who do paid work get mental stimulation, financial benefits, and social connections.  Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, who led the research as an assistant professor of epidemiology at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, says, “The factors like financial benefits and especially, social connections could limit declines in memory as women age.”

One of the reasons behind financial stability working as a factor towards the better mental stability might be access to health insurance, the researchers say.

Mayeda, who presented her findings Tuesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles, says, “Policies that promote equal pay for equal work, paid family leave and affordable childcare could one day be part of the conversation about women’s dementia in old age.” The team led by Mayeda looked at more than 6000 women between 1935 and 1956 and started collecting their employment details and health details as they turned 50.

Rate Of Memory Decline Less In Mothers Who Do Paid Work

The study also found that the rate of memory decline in the mothers who worked, as well as the non-mothers who worked, were less than the mothers or women who weren’t the part of the workforce. In fact, the results were even more surprising in the single mothers who didn’t work. They had 83% more chance of falling prey to memory loss than the mothers who participated in the work force. “Women are more emotional than men. They tend to pay more attention to people’s behaviour towards them. As the old age arrives, they become even more sensitive. Participating in the workforce helps divert their attention. They also interact with more people in the workforce and this helps in maintaining their mental stability. This might be just one of the reasons why women who work tend to be at the safer side when it comes to memory loss.” says Madhumita Srivastava, a Kanpur based psychologist.

The research presented at the  Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles says that women who do paid work get mental stimulation, financial benefits, and social connections.

Paid Labour Helps In Adding On To Self Respect And Thus Happiness

“Women who engaged in the paid labour force for at least a significant time period appeared to have slower rates of memory decline in a later age,” said Mayeda. “It didn’t mean that you had to work continuously, for example, in your 20s, 30s, and 40s.” One of the reasons behind financial stability working as a factor towards the better mental stability might be access to health insurance, the researchers say. Financial stability also adds on to the self-respect and happiness, which again, contributes to a better quality of life for women.

“We need to begin to look at engagement, work for pay or volunteering, as health promotion and disease prevention,” the researchers say. “When a physician sees a patient, they shouldn’t just be asking about blood pressure and exercise, but should also ask how patients spend their lives.”

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