For countless older adults burned out from decades working the 9 to 5 daily grind, retirement can’t come soon enough. But as appealing as slowing down to smell the roses may sound, many seniors try retirement for a few years or sometime only months before realizing that leaving the workforce wasn’t as rewarding or fulfilling as they expected. According to a recent survey, “unretirement” is more common today than ever; in 2017 nearly 40 per cent of workers over the age of 65 had previously retired.
Some retired adults prefer to take a less stressful or physically demanding job with more flexibly such as a part-time job or contract position. Returning to work after retirement isn’t always about making more money to fund an increasingly longer retirement. Many older adults find they crave the social interaction and sense of purpose that paid work provides. Seniors have a wealth of experience to draw from and can often take short-term or on-call positions younger workers supporting families cannot afford to accept.
With more understanding about how loneliness and isolation affects people in a digital age, maintaining social relationships may be one of the fundamental keys to aging well. A 2015 study out of Brigham Young University found that feeling lonely can increase the risk of death by 26 per cent. And for older adults who shaped their lives and sense of accomplishment around work, retirement can leave a void that can quickly lead to social isolation and poorer overall health and quality of life. Researchers believe that loneliness should be considered a public health concern and as serious a health risk as obesity, smoking, poor diet or physical inactivity.
Returning to work, volunteering or turning a hobby into a new career are just a few of the ways older adults can avoid the pitfalls of retiring and becoming dissatisfied with their new-found lack of direction. If 60 is the new 40, perhaps Freedom 75 is the new 55?