olderRecent research confirms retirees who continue work, whether full-time work, temporary or part-time have fewer major diseases and can function better day-to-day than those who stop working altogether.

This was significant even after controlling for people’s physical and mental health before retirement.
Lets look at this study. They looked at the national Health and Retirement Study,  sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. Using data from 12,189 participants between the ages of 51 and 61 at the beginning of the study. Participants were interviewed every two years over a six-year period from 1992 about their health, finances, employment history and work or retirement life.

To measure respondents’ health over the course of the study, researchers considered only physician-diagnosed health problems, e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, stroke and psychiatric problems. They controlled not only for baseline physical and mental health but also for age, sex, education level, and total financial wealth. The results showed retirees who continued to work in some form experienced fewer major diseases and fewer functional limitations than those who fully retired.

Participants answered a basic mental health questionnaire. Findings showed people whose post-retirement jobs were related to their previous careers reported better mental health than those who fully retired.However, these mental health improvements were not found among people who worked in jobs outside their career field post-retirement. The authors say this may be because retirees who take jobs not related to their career field may need to adapt to a different work environment or job conditions and, therefore, become more stressed. Also, the study suggests retirees with financial problems are more likely to work in a different field after they officially retire. Read the full report from the American Psychological Association here.