Did you ever consider that working may be beneficial to your health? There is now data that demonstrates that working longer may increase your longevity.
In 2016, a study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health which demonstrated that healthy people who retired one year later than those in the control group, decreased their risk of dying during the study period, which lasted 18 years, by 11%. Retirees who had health problems also lived longer if they postponed their retirement. A French study linked later retirement with a decreased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
It could be that a job that you enjoy may be associated with more social connections, increased physical activity, and provide a purpose, creative outlet or a challenge. All of these factors have been associated with improved health.
Not all studies agree. In an Australian study published in the Journal of Economics, researchers
linked overall health to longevity, with no benefit of a later retirement. Of course, health problems my be a reason that people retire, a factor that may affect some of the study models. Your work environment may make the difference. A person who works in a positive work environment that is challenging and fulfilling may have very different health effects than a person who works in an environment that is stressful or hostile, causing physical or psychological stress.
Many women in their later working years need a change. They may choose to take advantage of more flexible work schedules such as working part-time or working from home when possible. Finding a position that is less demanding, with less management responsibility can often decrease stress. Some women may look at their careers, having achieved their goals, and switch careers entirely, doing something different that arose from an interest, hobby, or previous work experience. Becoming a consultant in your field offers an opportunity to use your skills and contacts, and manage your work schedule as you wish.
Dr. Nicole Maestas, who is an associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, feels that working longer can increase financial security and in some cases, improve health. She believes that women should try to remain engaged in the workforce as long as possible.
When to retire is a complex decision which depends on many factors including finances, health, and a person’s individual work situation. Now it appears that there is at least some data that working longer may be good for your health!
Harvard Women’s Health Watch, Volume 25, Number 1, September 2017