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Full retirement bad for your health

20th October 2009

People should not stop working completely when they retire, according to new US research.

Old Woman 400

Researchers at the University of Maryland made a study of 12,189 retired people.

They found that those among them who kept working after retirement had fewer major illnesses, as well as functioning better on a daily basis.

The results of the study seemed significant to researchers even when they took pre-existing health conditions into account.

All of the 12,189 study subjects ranged between 51 and 61 years of age.

For six years after the researchers made initial queries into the health of the study participants, they made follow-ups at two year intervals.

In addition to asking questions about whether the participants were fully retired or not, the researchers asked them questions about their health and finances.

In considering the health of the study subjects, the researchers only paid attention to medical conditions which had been properly diagnosed.

Mental health was also considered by means of a basic questionnaire.

Though there was a noted boost in overall mental health among people who kept working after retirement, the increase did not apply to people who worked outside their career speciality, which included most retired people in lower financial brackets.

This might have been because people who enter a new work environment after they retire become more stressed than they were before.

Mo Wang of the University of Maryland said that, rather than wanting to work in a different field, retired people whose financial situations were not good might have to work.

He said that it was difficult for these people to enjoy the benefits that come with part-time employment after retirement.

Kenneth Shultz, another researcher from the University of Maryland, said that choosing a suitable type of part-time retired employment would help people to transition better into full retirement and in good physical and mental health.

Cary Cooper of the University of Lancaster said that all the evidence suggested that if mental wellbeing was depleted it would have a physical effect.

He said that if people continue working after retirement, their status remains similar to that experienced during their career, and as a result their self-esteem and sense of wellbeing is enhanced.


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