Retirement 'harmful to health', study says

Pensioners Retirement can affect your mental health, the study suggests

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Retirement has a detrimental impact on mental and physical health, a new study has found.

The study, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank, found that retirement results in a "drastic decline in health" in the medium and long term.

The IEA said the study suggests people should work for longer for health as well as economic reasons.

The government already plans to raise the state pension age.

The study, which was published in conjunction with the Age Endeavour Fellowship, a charity, compared retired people with those who had continued working past retirement age, and took into account possible confounding factors.

Philip Booth, programme director at the IEA, said the government should go further to deregulate labour markets and allow people to work for longer.

No 'normal' retirement age

"Working longer will not only be an economic necessity, it also helps people live healthier lives," he said.

Edward Datnow, chairman of the Age Endeavour Fellowship, said: "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."

The study suggests there is a small boost to health immediately after retirement, before a significant decline in the longer term.

Retirement is found to increase the chances of suffering from clinical depression by 40%, while you are 60% more likely to suffer from a physical condition.

The effect is the same for men and women, while the chances of becoming ill appear to increase with the length of time spent in retirement.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    A correlation between old age and ill-health is not an argument against retirement. This is right-wing capitalist propaganda at it's worst.

    Next up, Old Father Thames will be on here saying Bees and Ants are superior to human workers because they never ask for a day off...

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    I took early retirement from bus driving a year ago and haven't regretted it for a moment. The travelling public and other road users were becoming more angry and abusive every year. My stress levels at work, whilst I tried to be laid back and passive, were an important factor in my decision.

    I now devote my time to hobbies, counting rainbows and deciding to do absolutely nothing on a whim.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    So wining the lottery and retiring early would be bad for my health?

    I reckon I'm willing to take that risk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    Not everyone lives to work or has a job they thrive in or love but for those that do retirement has seemed to me a pointless thing. Why get rid of someone simply for age unless there are sinister motives if someone is capable and willing why not let them stay on as their experience and expertise is surely what your company needs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    I think it affects different people in different ways - impossible and unwise to generalise. People who live for their work tend to fold up and die soon after leaving it. Conversely, people who hate their work, or who are heavily committed to their hobbies tend to love it. I think its as much personality and self-discipline driven as anything else. Job availability for over 60s is a big issue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Nobody begrudges the war generation from a state pension, they've earned every penny.

    Baby-boomers on the other hand have ruined the country through their greed and shouldn't receive a penny. Further they should have their private pensions and all their assets confiscated to pay off the legacy of debt their selfishness has bequeathed to the rest of us then all should work cleaning the streets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    Retiring is something many people look forward to, and it is the only thing that keeps some of use going despite already being ill! I look forward to having time to do the activities i don't have the energy for now, spending time doing what i want to do when i want to do it. My grandparents all retired early and it didn't kill them, stop with the scare mongering and let us retire in peace!

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    "Retirement is found to increase the chances of suffering from clinical depression by 40%, while you are 60% more likely to suffer from a physical condition."
    "The effect is the same for men and women, while the chances of becoming ill appear to increase with the length of time spent in retirement." Surprise...surprise...yes ailments do tend to come along when one becomes 'OLDER' : working or not!

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    Wow, what an astonishing study! An ECONOMIC think-tank doing a MEDICAL study saying, effectively, "older people are more likely to have health problems". Imagine that.

    I hear they're bringing out another report coming out saying "dogs more likely to have tails than humans". This news will be equally earth-shattering.

    IEA? Institute of Extreme Absurdity I think.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    Institute of Economic Affairs another neocon freemarket think tank wanting to keep people working for as long as they can raise a finger to tap a key. These lobby groups get taken up by politicians of the right to force people who have been working for 50 plus years, it's good for the economy don't you know, to work until they drop. How about some of the lower orders enjoying the end of life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Following redundancy, I have been able to retire at 56 (involved serious downsizing and a move from Sussex to SW Wales.) I walk the dog 4 miles a day, do voluntary work for three different organisations, play in two bands and regularly gig at a local folk club. My BP has dropped, I drink less and my wife has stopped worrying about me!

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    It's about time someone at the BBC explained why the organisation repeatedly and without question regurgitates 'studies' published by right-wing think tanks as though they were fully validated scientific investigations. Yet again, no evidence is produced to substantiate the soundbite headline, just comments from those with vested interests in churning out the propaganda.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    This is ppoor journalism from the BBC.
    1) Correlation IS NOT causation. I don't doubt that keeping active is good for you, but undoubtedly much of the causation is the other way round
    2) This is not a "report": is is a piece of propaganda by a right-wing lobby group and its dummy "charity".
    3) Why do we need to work more when there is modern technology and chronic un/underemployment?

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Ha, ha, ha! When they publish the raw research data I'll see if they removed those who retire through ill health. I retired 9 years ago, aged 56, and I was, and still am, over the moon about it. If I were forced to retire at 68 then I might be suicidal by the time I retired - guess that would give the government a reason to raise retirement age to 80, cutting the pension payout by £100bn a year

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    I'm very suspicious about this research from a 'right wing think tank', that won't reveal its sources of funding. How very convenient that the black hole that cannot be filled of state pension funding, would not be there if we all worked until we drop. I'm retired and busier, happier and more fulfilled that ever I was when working.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    I cannot wait to retire. I work 16+ hours some days and can work as many as 80 hours in a week. Variable shifts mean that one day I could start at 8am and work to 1am and a couple of days later I could start at 7pm and finish at 4am. I am now 50 years old and have been working these hours since 21. Retirement cannot be more stressful either mentally or physically!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    @ Threeshire

    To put it another way: As people get older they are likely to experience more health problems.
    Exactly what i was thinking. Who's idea was it to commission this study and for what gain? Seems like they are "finding" answers to justify working longer.

    There is more to life than work, older people deserve some time to do what they want.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Well we must definitely work harder for longer then. What a coincidence the government is raising the retirement age. Thank heavens they are looking after us. It's a good job the nation is infantilised, compliant and suitably repressed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    It all depends on what you do after retiring. I had many projects that could not be done while employed. Some involve physical work. One has to achieve a balance between physical and mental work while be willing to try new things and meet new people. The last is very important when one's circle of friends die off. This has sustained me during "retirement" of over a couple of decades.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    What a load of old pony!

    Working pensioners are blocking jobs for our children and they should be forced to retire at state pension age.

    if they want to do something in retirement they should do charity work.


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