Retirement causes a drastic decline in both mental and physical health according to a study released yesterday.
The research paper ‘Work Longer, Live Healthier’(1) concludes that retirement has measurable downsides – and the longer you spend in retirement the greater these are. Retirement
- decreases the likelihood of being in ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ self-assessed health by c. 40%
- increases the probability of suffering from clinical depression by c. 40%
- increases the probability of having at least one diagnosed physical condition by c. 60%
Doubling the number of years spent in retirement further increases the chance of depression by nearly a fifth and the prospect of physical illness by 20%.
Worrying figures given theUK’s increasing life expectancy and the financial pressure this is placing both on state pensions and health care costs.
Putting a human face on these findings was Nell McFadden MBE on Thursday’s Today programme. She confirmed the short term bounce – holiday effect – of initial retirement; those first few months were ‘magic’. But then all the lovely free time became a burden to her and depression set in. On going to see her doctor, she received not pills but advice: get out into the community and get involved.
25 years on, she summarised her advice to Today listeners: “Do not retire before you decide what you’re going to do afterwards.”
Wise words that would be echoed by the c900 employees of Homesitters Ltd. When researching their retirement options, they recognise the benefits of home and pet sitting as a stimulating retirement occupation. It’s work – but occasional, so an excellent compromise for those who do not want to retire completely but wish to escape the daily grind of full-time employment. Homesitters Tim and Jill Clark who joined the company in 2002 and are particularly fond of dogs say “Our dog sitting keeps us young because it ensures we take regular exercise, keeps our brains alert and provides wonderfully rewarding companionship.”
For 33 years, Homesitters Ltd has been successfully doing what Mark Littlewood the director-general of the Institute of Economic Affairs is advocating in The Times on 16 May (2): recruiting and retaining staff in their sixties and seventies. Well, how about that… ahead of The Times!