Retirement is considered the light at the end of the professional tunnel, the time in life when hard-working people get to reap their reward after decades of labor. And for many, retirement is welcome—necessary even, to rekindle better balance, health, and happiness.
However, for an increasing number of retirement-age Americans, working longer isn’t just a financial necessity, but a personal preference, and one that research now shows has health benefits. According to Harvard Medical’s Health Letter, studies indicate that in the aging population for whom working doesn’t compromise their wellness—from stress levels to heart health and everything in between—working longer is associated with improved health outcomes such as:
- Roughly 10% decrease in likelihood of mortality within the next twenty years, when working as little as one year beyond retirement age.
- About 50% less chance of suffering health problems, like cancer or heart disease, and three times the likelihood of reporting good health when working past age 65.
- Reduced risk of dementia and heart attack.
Though some studies demonstrate possible negative effects of working too long, these tend to overlap situations that generate stress and don’t balance lifestyle and overall values with work expectations. In general, research on working longer, later in life, does point toward the positive, especially when we enjoy the work we’re doing. One of Harvard Medical’s health policy professors puts it this way:
“Mental stimulation and problem solving are good for maintaining thinking skills; social engagement is associated with staving off chronic disease; and staying physically active, even if it’s just walking, can lead to both better health and sharper thinking skills…[B]e smart about what you’re doing. Don’t stay in a job you hate. Try to find something that’s meaningful and gives you purpose. If you’re happy at work, that’s one sign that work may be good for your health.”
This is exactly what we’re advancing at WAHVE—a workplace that allows veteran workers to do work that fulfills them, log reasonable hours, and earn valuable income. As we age and seek new professional opportunity, it’s imperative that we find work where we can stay mentally challenged and socially engaged, and also make time for physical activity and balanced living. For many for whom retirement isn’t yet the right move, this work dynamic is a recipe for fulfilling living as we age, and thanks to a growing trend in both supply and demand of hiring veteran workers, it’s ours for the taking.