Why retirement could be bad for your health

Older workerThe dream of early retirement seems sweet enough. Clocking off work for good, watching colleagues wave goodbye with envy in their eyes while you head off to spend time in the garden, travel the world or simply put your feet up with a good book.

But according to research published today, the reality may not be quite so rosy. A survey conducted among 9,000 people aged between 50 and 70 in 11 European countries showed that retirement could actually be detrimental to a person's health.

The Work Longer, Live Healthier study, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Age Endeavour Fellowship, showed that retirement could have a negative impact on both mental and physical health over time. While, initially, people may be healthier on retirement, the research suggested that, over the medium-longer term, retirement causes a drastic decline in health for both men and women.
According to the research, retirement decreases the likelihood of being in 'very good' or 'excellent' self-assessed health but about 40%. It increasing the probability of suffering from clinical depression by about 40%, and the chances of being diagnosed with a physical condition increase by about 60%. And retiring earlier can actually make matters worse, as the longer a person is retired, the greater the issues become.

Edward Datnow, chairman of the Age Endeavour Fellowship, said in the Independent the report was a "wake-up call" for the UK's retirement lobbies. "There should be no 'normal' retirement age in future. More employers need to consider how they will capitalise on Britain's untapped grey potential and those seeking to retire should think very hard about whether it is their best option."

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