Useful links and articles
Are you dreaming of retiring from a pressurised job or business life? Are you newly retired and looking for inspiration? If so, GiddyLimits.co.uk is worth a look. It’s packed with ideas for travel, business, inspiration for retirement, personal stories, education and creative things to do, health topics and more.
The University of the Third Age
The Third Age Trust aims to promote active learning, research and community service among “Third Agers” everywhere. Get in touch with a group near you and learn for the pleasure of it; no qualifications are required and none are given.
Third Age Employment Network
TAEN is a leading campaigner on all matters related to age and employment. The site features up-to-date news items on older workers and the labour market.
Department for Work and Pensions
Comprehensive information about benefits and services from this Government Department, including pensions and retirement.
Research – The Future of Retirement
Global financial services business HSBC has recently completed a significant review of attitudes towards ageing and retirement across 10 countries. It looks in particular at people’s hopes and fears for later life. Here are some of the findings:
- There is now a new vision of later life as a time of opportunity and reinvention rather than rest and relaxation. Individuals in ‘retirement’ now want to alternate between periods of leisure, work, learning and rest
- Attitudes to ageing and to older people vary dramatically across the world and former stereotypes are breaking down
- The role of the family is changing. There are growing expectations that we should be self-reliant in later life and less dependent on our families for care and support
- The concept of a mandatory retirement age is rejected throughout the world: people want to have the opportunity to continue working if they can
- Much more needs to be done to prepare for demographic changes
- Employers need to forge new ways of working that fit today’s retirement model and support the individual through the transition to retirement
“Retire Early, Die Young”
This shocking headline was run by the Daily Mail in October 2005. The article highlighted a study of Shell Oil staff in Texas, published in the British Medical Journal, which found that those who retire at 55 are nearly twice as likely to die in the next 10 years as those who keep working. And those who retire at 65 have survival rates as good as those retiring at 60.
So what could explain this? There may be a number of contributory factors. In particular, some may have taken early retirement through ill-health, which led to early death. Others may have suffered the stress of redundancy and a subsequent loss of self-esteem, possibly leading to depression. But the impact of retirement itself is probably a major cause:
- Some would have lost an important network of social relationships and suffered loneliness
- Some would not know what to do with their new found freedom
- Some would have lapsed into the ‘old’ retirement model of sitting in the armchair, watching television and generally taking it easy
All of these things can lead to earlier death. So, while there will always be lies, damn lies and statistics, it’s clear just how important it is to think about, and plan, how we are going to ensure our retirement is a positive stage of our life. In particular, it’s important to:
- Replace/replenish the benefits of working, which can be summarised as socialisation, status, purpose and structure
- Keep our brains active and stimulated through new outlets
- Find a new ‘routine’ in our daily living.
“Retirement is a Big Stress”
In another Daily Mail article, there’s a focus on the impact on your health as you approach retirement. Apparently, more than 1.5 million people who are due to retire over the coming 18 months admit they feel stressed and depressed about the prospect. Some of my clients certainly have expressed feelings of anxiety, frequently because they have not really taken enough time out to think about the implications of their impending transition. But they have then gone on to do something about it by talking to a professional. And this is the important thing: to talk. Whether it’s to your partner, family or to a specialist counsellor, the process is therapeutic, creative, and stimulates action.
A good site to visit is www.realage.co.uk. Your Real Age is the actual biological age of your body, based on how well you maintain it. Are you as young as you could be? Complete the RealAge test to find out (it will help if you know your blood pressure and resting heart rate before you start). You will then receive a three-page report, with specific recommendations for staying young and slowing the ageing process.
If you want to go further, then take the original US version of the test at www.realage.com but be aware that more questions are asked and more detail is expected: for example, about vitamin and other dietary supplements taken. The pay-off is a more comprehensive eight-page report with commentary and recommendations.