The Zoomer Report: Health and Retirement

If you’re thinking of retiring, here’s some evidence for the yes column. Some European research shows it brings most people a big health boost — that’s like turning back the clock 8 years.

That’s how much the self-reported health of the newly retired people improved — according to a study that looked at what 15,000 French workers, had to say about their own health for seven years pre-retirement and for seven years after.

This happy news was true of most everyone except a small minority — only 2 per cent — who had experienced “ideal” conditions in their working life.

As participants got closer to retirement age, their perception of their own health declined, but went up again during the first year of retirement.

The study in The Lancet concludes that work puts an extra burden on the health of older workers, but the effects are largely relieved by retirement. This is especially true when working conditions are poor.

People with more authority or better education, complained less than those who had low job satisfaction.

The question is whether these European findings apply here. Retirement can mean a substantial increase in financial stress, which could counteract the positive effects of the removal of work stress at retirement.

About The Zoomer Report

Libby ZnaimerLibby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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