While retirement, a major life-changing decision, may invoke reluctant thoughts of dread, a study led by Dr Hugo Westerlund from Stockholm University suggests that retirement reduces mental and physical fatigue, as well as depressive symptoms.
The study, titled "Effect of retirement on major chronic conditions and fatigue", monitored 14,104 participants from a French cohort study, and spanned a period of 15 years. The study found that by the age of 64, all participants had retired. Research by McCrindle states that 15 per cent of Australians today are age 65 or over, and this is estimated to rise to 20 per cent in the next 30 years.
Results obtained from the longitudinal analysis showed a substantial decrease in both mental and physical fatigue in retired participants. Depressive symptoms also decreased significantly as a result of seniors leaving the workforce.
Why retire earlier?
In an April 1 Australian Ageing Agenda article, gerontologist Chris Phillipson suggests there is an increased focus on "age resisting practices". This includes physical exercise, as well as mind and body discipline. Phillipson's claim brings light to McCrindle's findings – the median age of Australians is on the incline, an expected 10 years longer in 2024 than 30 years ago.
In response to National Psychology Week (November 8 to 14), the Australian Psychological Society conducted surveys that revealed unchanging high levels of workplace stress from 2013 to 2014. Dr Westerlund and his fellow research associates suggest that the reduced levels of fatigue post-retirement could be a result of the removal of the source of stress, the main cause being work, and that retirement allows seniors "more time to engage in stimulating and restorative activities, such as physical exercise".
Dr Ralph Hampson, an advocate for changing the stigma surrounding aged care, wrote in the Australian Ageing Agenda article that "the time has come to face ageing head on". He encourages more homely facilities to accommodate seniors, in any state of health, to promote a more meaningful life of retirement.
At AEH Retirement, we have embraced these "age resisting practices" by implementing active facilities within our retirement communities. One of our lifestyle estates, Sugar Valley, is located close to not only a shopping centre complete with a cinema, but also to a golf course, spanning an impressive 6,511 yards. Our community centre also hosts regular BBQs, in addition to a happy hour.
We also offer retirement villages that support independent living, focused on retirees who live happy and active lifestyles. Seniors, not necessarily disabled or ill, have the freedom to enjoy a community-based and relaxing social lifestyle.
McCrindle estimates that in 15 years, half the current Australian workforce will be retired. So why not start early and consider a friendly environment in which to retire in the coming years, for a stress- and fatigue-free lifestyle to enjoy the rest of your life.