Health and Economics study showed that retiring early can lengthen one’s life, with 42 percent people less likely to die over the subsequent five years compared to those who continued working. Researchers explained that these potentially life-extending effects happen because retiring early can free up an individual’s time, allowing them to invest more on health, such as sleeping more, exercising or simply going to doctor as soon as an issue appears. Another reason is that work can be so stressful. Retirement can alleviate the stress caused by demanding workload as well as lessening the risk for various potentially fatal conditions, including heart disease, chronic fatigue, stroke, diabetes, or other cardiovascular diseases.
While employees are looking forward to enjoying their leisure retirement time, psychologists warned that retirement might slow the brain function. Other effects include loneliness and risk of dementia which lead to unhappiness and unsatisfactory life.
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The Whitehall II Cohort study that focuses on the effect of retirement on cognitive function found that short-term memory declines nearly 40 percent faster once employees become pensioners. Lack of regular stimulation takes a toll on cognitive and speeds up memory loss and dementia, the study wrote. Even high-ranking with mentally demanding jobs saw brain capacity plummet once employees quit. This suggests that busy and high-flying careers offer no protection against cognitive decline unless pensioners keep themselves physically and mentally active.
Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin observed that the ideal time to retire is ”never”. Staying busy is the ideal type of retirement everyone should have. Why? Levitin wrote that time spent with no purpose is associated with unhappiness. On the contrary, those who stay busy on trivial pursuits or meaningful activities would find their life more meaningful and full of purpose and satisfaction, with 25 to 40 percent of people who retire are eager to reenter the workforce.
Staying busy during retirement age does not mean to have an office job or other office-related matters, although many employers nowadays allow adult workers to modify their schedules in order to continue working. In the US, employers adjust to make reasonable accommodations, such as start and end times, break rooms, even a cot to lie down on for a nap, and age discrimination is illegal.
Depending on each individual’s interest, retirements can be spent on volunteering, teaching, or even writing and sharing knowledge. There is a program for older workers to positively impact the communities, including the Head Start program that allows seniors to read to underprivileged children or AARP Foundation that match older adults as tutors in public schools for economically disadvantaged children.
According to Levitin, these programs do not only give retirees meaningful purposes over their lives but also help lessen the chance of dementia and help address poverty. The program is shown to have positive results, including improved literacy, increased test scores, and improved classroom and social behaviour.
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