Chief medical officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies is encouraging those aged between 50 and 70 to stay in work for the sake of their health, rather than retire. She is 67 and has no plans to retire. She is urging people not to slow down as they hit their 60s. In an interview with the Telegraph, she argues that staying mentally and physically active has health benefits that should not be underestimated.
Working brings a sense of fulfillment. It gives people a purpose and a structure. Relationships in the working environment are incredibly powerful and in most cases contribute positively to our sense of value. Mental health is just as important as the physical in our overall state of wellbeing.
Social isolation is an increasing problem for retired people, so joining a community group or volunteering are equally valid ways of continuing to stay socially active and stave off loneliness and isolation. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said more should be done to prevent loneliness in retirement, and GPs are being encouraged to offer community activity programmes.
The philosopher Confucious said, “Choose a work that you love and you won’t have to work another day.” While work can be a source of stress, for people who love their jobs, retirement can provoke a real sense of bereavement and loss. Those who have invested a lot into their careers may be more at risk of depression after retiring. Retiring doesn’t mean you have to give up work. Many retirees are taking on new retirement jobs and even retraining to pursue careers in areas they have a real passion for.
For those working beyond retirement age, there are of course the financial benefits. Working into the second half of your sixties and beyond offers the prospect of a more financially secure retirement. Given the increasing constraints on the NHS and the worrying statistics about funding care for our growing elderly population, working beyond retirement age is a sure way to invest in your future, in more ways than one. More and more people are choosing to work longer and make better provision for their eventual retirement. It’s a misnomer that health insurers don’t offer policies for the ageing population. In fact, retirement health insurance is a popular choice for many.