express.co.uk Thursday 16th May 2013
Retirement for most people holds out the golden prospect of more time with the grandchildren or on the golf course after years of hard work and saving.
But research out today claims that finishing work is a major cause of decline in physical and mental health, with many unable to enjoy the plans they made.
Despite an initial small improvement in health, due to less stress and more time to relax, retirement can prompt a series of problems for men and women.
Researchers found that retirement increases the chances of clinical depression by about 40 per cent and raises the probability of having at least one diagnosed physical condition by about 60 per cent.
The chances of requiring medication also rise by about 60 per cent, according to the study by the Institute of Economic Affairs and Age Endeavour Fellowship.
Edward Datnow, chairman of the Age Endeavour Fellowship, said: “This research is a wake-up call for the UK’s extensive and well-funded retirement lobbies.
“More emphasis needs to be given to ways of enabling a work-life balance beyond today’s normal retirement age, with discouragements to extending working life being replaced with incentives.”
He added: “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 Work Longer, Live Healthier report calls for government policies that remove barriers to working longer.
The findings were echoed by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) which also urged ministers and employers to do more to help older staff stay in work.
The group said the gap between effective retirement age and state pension age was a drag on the UK economy which would get worse as more people lived for longer.
It estimates that an increase in the UK’s retirement age of one year would benefit public finances by around £13billion, or one per cent of GDP.
Other research by accountants PWC estimates that raising the state pension age to 70 rather than 68 by 2046 would boost the economy by around 0.6 per cent of GDP.
Baroness Sally Greengross, chief executive of ILC-UK said: “Lots of employers talk about innovation but far too few deliver.
“Some innovative employers have implemented measures to support older workers but they are few and far between.”
Lady Greengross cited Sainsbury’s and BMW as two companies which have made changes to accommodate older workers.
The supermarket has pioneered a flexible retirement scheme, while BMW has reorganised a production line to reflect the needs of older workers.
According to official statistics, 980,000 people aged 65-plus are still working.