While some people embrace their retirement years, many people find that they struggle to know what to do with all the extra time on their hands. Many find that they become more inactive, and with that inactivity comes a sense of boredom, which can cause someone who’s usually vibrant and active to become lethargic and stagnated. Therefore, it can be of little wonder that a significant number of people are now choosing to postpone retirement, in favour of continuing employment well into their later years. This can be beneficial for many areas of a person’s life, including health and financial planning.
Greater Financial Stability
One of the positive implications of continuing employment in later life is that it provides people with a steady income, and offers them a greater sense of financial security, the value of which cannot be underestimated in such economically uncertain times. Continuing to earn an income also enables people to pay more into their pension fund, which means they’ll eventually receive a greater lump sum pay-out. Having that added financial stability means that when they do decide it’s time to retire, they have more disposable funds with which to actually enjoy and make the most of their retirement years.
Keeping Mentally Active
There is also evidence to suggest that postponing retirement can help to improve cognitive function. Those who don’t mentally challenge themselves on a regular basis are more likely to encounter problems such as poor memory, slowed thinking and have difficulty concentrating. This is true of people of any age; however, for people over the age of 60, such problems are especially common. The old adage of ‘use it, or lose it’ is especially applicable here, and mentally challenging yourself in the workplace is a great way of getting the synapses firing and stimulating brain function, which can help improve cognitive ability and prevent such problems from happening in the first place. There is even evidence to suggest that staying mentally active could help prevent the likelihood of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia from developing in later life.
Positive Health Implications
Staying active in the workplace, and engaging in any form of gentle exercise on a regular basis, also helps to improve general physical health in older people. Even if it’s just commuting to and from the workplace each day, it’s a great way of getting out in the fresh air and getting the body moving. Where possible, walking to and from the workplace is a highly effective form of gentle exercise, which can help to alleviate joint pain and stiffness, build muscle strength and help older people to maintain a natural and healthy weight. Perhaps this could even go some way as to help lessen the increasing strain on our already struggling National Health Service.
Depression is also becoming increasingly common in the over 60s. A problem that many older people experience, especially during their retirement, is a sense of isolation and disconnection from the rest of the world. When lacking a sense of purpose, many retirees find that they simply have too much time on their hands and lose the energy and motivation to stay active. They can feel as if they are somehow superfluous and are no longer of use in the workplace, so it’s unsurprising that for many, this can often lead to feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. Staying in employment is a way for older people to stay connected with the outside world, and a chance to socialise and contribute their skills, experience and wisdom to the workplace, and society at large. Feeling valued and having a sense of purpose provides a natural antidote to problems such as depression, and can help older people to enjoy a better quality of life.
Therefore, there are many ways in which continuing to work past retirement age can be beneficial. It can offer greater financial stability, is a great way of maintaining both physical and mental health, and it enables people to continue to be active and productive members of society, and maintain a sense of independence well into their later life. More older people in the workplace is also a way of demonstrating to people of all ages that older people are to be both revered and cherished, and the countless ways in which society can benefit from their experience and wisdom.
Written by Emma Drysberg