Can Working Longer Keep You Healthier?

benefits of workingRetirement planning is something many people start at an early age, as they look forward to having all the time in the world to relax, enjoy themselves, and do all the things they may not have previously had time to do, like travel or write a novel.

However, more and more these days, older Americans are choosing to stay at work well past the retirement age of 65. Some continue working purely for financial reasons; studies have shown that more than half of U.S. workers have less than $25,000 in their savings accounts when it comes time to retire, excluding any pensions and property. This makes continuing to work a necessity, so they can continue saving for when they can no longer work at all.

Financial need is not the only reason seniors keep working, though! The benefits of working into your later years include social, emotional, mental and physical improvements to your health.

The Health Benefits of Working

A few years ago, research conducted by the University of Maryland found that men and women who continued to work past the standard retirement age had fewer disabilities, diseases and other health issues than those who had retired earlier. Another study shows that those who continued to work past age 70 were two and a half times more likely to still be alive at age 82 than those who had retired before then.

It’s clear that there are some definite health benefits of working longer. Some of the main benefits include:

  • Helps you stay active. Doctors have long stressed the importance of seniors staying physically active. Heading out to work every day keeps you moving, from simply walking from the parking lot into the office or going up a flight of stairs.
  • Keeps you socially connected. After retirement, some seniors can become isolated socially. They no longer have the opportunity to speak with others on a daily basis, and the situation can become worse if they live far away from friends and family. Social isolation has been known to lead to depression in seniors, too, but by going into work every day, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be communicating and interacting with others.
  • Can prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. You’ve heard the phrase “use it or lose it” before, and this applies not only to the muscles of the body, but also to your brain. Working can keep you mentally challenged, which is a key component in keeping the brain healthy and active and slowing the onset of dementia.
  • Gives meaning to your life. Many seniors continue to work to feel that sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with completing a task or project and giving their emotional health a little boost. It allows them to achieve their goals and feel purposeful and meaningful in everyday life.
  • Improves mental health. This is especially true for seniors who either continue to work or find work after retirement that is related to their previous career. These seniors are able to use the knowledge and experience they’ve gained over their lifetimes, while continuing to develop new skills and meet their employer’s needs.

Working into your retirement years doesn’t have to be a negative experience. You’ll reap both health benefits and financial benefits, making you more able to retire comfortably when the time does come.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

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