‘There’s a Temptation to Lump Octogenarians Together’: What You Should Know About Work and Aging-Brain Health

In the upper echelons of politics, there’s no shortage of men and women working well past the conventional retirement age.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who turns 90 next month, has said she won’t seek reelection in 2024, but she continues to serve as the oldest member of the U.S. Senate, despite a recent extended medical absence and questions about her mental acuity. In the 2024 presidential election, voters are likely to face a standoff between President Biden, who will be 82 next November, and former President Trump, who will be 78.

Experts have said that working into old age can be beneficial and improve longevity — but only if it’s by choice; being forced to do so for financial reasons has the opposite effect. Yet many Americans are opposed to having elder statesmen doing the decision making, with 41% saying that old age hurts members of Congress by making their work “more difficult” rather than help them with “wisdom and experience,” according to a recent poll.

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

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