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Uh Oh: Retirement May Negatively Impact Health

Update Date: May 16, 2013 03:13 PM EDT

Many people are counting down the days until they can retire, envisioning that they will have more free time to do what they love and that they will be less stressed. A recent paper suggests just the opposite. Published by British think-tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the study finds that retirement increases people's risk of lowered physical and mental health.

The organization states that retirement improves people's lives in the short-term. However, the longer people are retired, the worse that their health becomes. The Independent reports that retirement increases the risk of developing clinical depression by 40 percent. When compared to people in the same age group who have continued working, people who are retired are 60 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with at least one physical condition. People who are retired are also 60 percent more likely to take medication for such a condition, and they are also 40 percent less likely to describe themselves as being in good or excellent health.

The think-tank, working with the Age Endeavor Fellowship, suggests that the United Kingdom's government roll back the hurdles that make it difficult for people to continue working or to work again after the age of 65. While the think-tank notes that it is often not possible for people to continue working full-time until the end of their lives, the BBC reports that they say that working longer will boost health and the economy.

Indeed, according to the Telegraph, more people are working beyond the age of 65 than ever before. It is expected that the number of people over the age of 65 who are in the workforce will surpass 1 million in the United Kingdom for the first time in decade. In the United States as well, there has been an increase in the number of people over the age of 65 who continue to work; over 7.2 million Americans over the age of 65 worked, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau also reports that, between 1977 and 2007, there was a 101 percent increase in the number of people who were employed and who were over the age of 65.

However, one critic says about the paper that most people who continue working after the age of 65 do so because of necessity, not desire. Michelle Mitchell, the director of an organization called Age UK, states that there is also a great deal of age discrimination preventing older-65's from returning to the workforce.

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