Researchers at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the Age Endeavour Fellowship found that while health boosted momentarily after retirement, it declined faster in the long run than the health of people who chose to keep working.
This significant decline has led the group to controversially call for a rise in the state pension age to discourage people from retiring.
The study, called ‘Work Longer, Live Healthier: The Relationship Between Economic Activity, Health and Government Policy’, found that retirement increases the likelihood of depression by as much as 40%.
It also increases the chance of having at least one physical problem by around 60%. The likelihood of being on medication also increases by around 60% for those who are retired, and these people are also 40% less likely than their employed peers to describe themselves as being in good or excellent health.
Editorial director at the IEA Philip Booth said: “Over several decades, governments have failed to deal with the ‘demographic time bomb’. There is now general agreement that state pension ages should be raised. The Government should take firmer action here and also deregulate labour markets. Working longer will not only be an economic necessity, it also helps people to live healthier lives.”
With an increasing number of people living for longer, it is apparent that our lifestyles will need to change in order to support the economy. Keeping occupied and feeling useful is important for on-going mental health, at any age.
The Age Endeavour Fellowship warns those thinking of retirement to carefully consider all of their options. If you are capable of working, are you sure you need to stop? Dropping hours or changing the nature of your work could be an option, while volunteering at local charities or community events are other worthwhile contributions that will help Britain cope with the rapidly ageing population whilst hopefully keeping you fit, active and happy.
To find out how counselling can help with mental health problems, please visit our Types of Distress page.
View and comment on the original Independent article.