Posted on Jul 15, 2011, 6 a.m.
Plan for changes in lifestyle and health to improve your odds of a healthy and happy retirement.
Retirement is often viewed as a time to relax, travel, participate in leisurely activities and spend time with family. However, for many older adults, chronic health problems and poor planning often hinder the enjoyment of retirement. Angela Curl, from the University of Missouri (Missouri, USA), has found that planning for changes in routine and lifestyle, and especially to address health problems that may occur later in life, can promote better retirement for married couples. Examining the effects of retirement on self-rated health and cardiac health among couples, the researchers found that women rated their health worse during the first few years of retirement, but their ratings improved in the long run; whereas husbands continued to rate their health worse the longer they were retired. Husbands reported improved health when their wives retired. Retirement also reduced the risk of cardiac health problems in men, but had no effect on cardiac health in women. To ease the switch from full-time employment into retirement, the team recommends a gradual transition to working less and maintaining some level of engagement in the workforce.
Curl A. “Retirement and cardiac health: A longitudinal, dyadic analysis.” Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting, November 2010.