Prolonging work life can result in "health shocks"
According to French and Australian researchers, leaving the workforce may not be as bad for workers' physical and mental health as some studies previously suggested. In Australia, our increasing retirement age could compound the negative impacts of strenuous work and fatigue on older employees.
The researchers from our own Deakin University and the Paris School of Economics, note that previous studies suggest retirement can have negative effects on a person's physical and mental health, including difficulties associated with mobility, weight gain, a decline in cognitive function and an increased risk of chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease. However, their study of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey from 2001 to 2014, which included 1,600 transitions to retirement, shows leaving the workforce actually brings about unexpected improvements in general, physical and mental health.
"We found that men and women are up to around 24 per cent less likely to experience unexpected bad health after retirement," Deakin Business School behavioural economist Dr Cahit Guven said. "Conversely, men and women are up to around 14 per cent more likely to experience good health unexpectedly after retirement, compared to beforehand."
Australia's age pension eligibility age, currently 65 years and six months, is set to increase to 67 by 1 July 2023 - which the researchers say could increase their likelihood of poor health.