When it came to the age of retirement I realised I was entering into a new chapter of my life and asked many people how they spent their time and made my own observations.
How about the long awaited cruise or travelling even backpacking, spending more time in the garden ,model railway, caring for grandchildren, going to the theatre, taking up Art , golf, tennis, bowls or joining a club or doing Voluntary work, University of the third Age….
What seemed interesting I noticed that many people said they were busier than when they worked and after about a year many people had drifted back into doing some sort of work paid or unpaid often less hours and less responsibility but nevertheless actively working and seemed happy and content and in good health.
Alas, there were those who sank into depression and apathy or developed a life threatening illness and retirement seemed a miserable existence and they felt that their life had come to a halt.
One patient I shall not forget decided after retiring that she would take herself in hand go on a diet increase her exercise as she had more time to think about herself ! She was very overweight and had always been a weary, borderline depressed lady burdened by her job and family worries.
Indeed she lost a considerable amount of weight and even had gastric band surgery. Following this she came off all her blood pressure and diabetic medication, her self esteem improved, she had more energy , was certainly more attractive and she wondered why she hadn’t done this years ago. Several doctors had tried to tell her over at least 5 yrs but to no avail. It was a joy to see her embracing retirement bursting with plans and ideas to live a life she hadn’t lived for years.
Hence, I was not surprised when I read about the recent study which appeared in the press
Retirement ‘harmful to health’, study says
Retirement has a detrimental impact on mental and physical health, a new study has found.
The study, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank, found that retirement results in a “drastic decline in health” in the medium and long term.
Retirement is found to increase the chances of suffering from clinical depression by 40%, while you are 60% more likely to suffer from a physical condition.
When anyone questions whether we as doctors will be less likely to treat you because of your age do not worry age is no longer a reason as more and more older people want to and will be actively encouraged to continue to work and enjoy a variety of leisure pursuits from sky diving to marathons.
Gone are the days when a GP would phone to admit a woman of 60 yrs or a man of 65 years and the junior doctor (and I was that doctor once) would say “sorry too old” please refer to geriatrics…Now I could be that patient …….
As many people are aware I have opted to partially retire with the cooperation of my working partner and my husband whereby I work in the practise for about 2 weeks and 2 weeks in retirement. ie 2 weeks of General Practise working for the NHS and about 2 weeks gardening, socialising and catching up on things I hadn’t done for years or going to places I had always wanted to go.
I decided to start a project to focus my mind and embarked on designing a Herb garden with a particular focus on Chinese Herbs. I am preparing followers of my blogs to hear about what I have discovered and how it all evolved.
Written by Dr Jacqueline Bayer