Work in progress

Is it better to retire or continue working? Research tells us that both can be beneficial. One study showed that those who worked in ‘mentally-demanding jobs had better cognitive functioning prior to retirement and a slower decline in cognitive ability post-retirement’.

By remaining in work whilst still healthy, the structure and responsibility can sustain our mental health.

However, this research also showed that benefits of working were greater when older people were offered flexible hours at work rather than being ‘forced’ to work for long hours. Employers need to encourage their older employees ‘to take stock of their wellbeing… general health, finances, career and retirement plans’.

Of course, remaining in work can give us more financial freedom and security. But there can be other benefits too. Studies have found that some people entering retirement may feel their intellect and skills are no longer in use, and that their years of experience are being wasted, so remaining in some sort of work, either voluntary or paid, may help us to ‘enjoy the feeling of being valued for experience and wisdom’.


The Psychologist, Making Your Way Through The Retirement Maze, ‘Helping the older worker to thrive’ Dr Nancy Doyle and Journal of Occupational Health Psychology pg 12 – 13