Leaving a career for a pension is a subject many look upon with a mixture of dread and excitement and it is one of the major life stressors. Although many have, or opt, to work later in their lives these days, the net median time a person has to live on a pension has increased. Several recent longitudinal studies on aging indicate that the act of retiring itself increases the risk of chronic disease. Out of pocket medical expenses have increased significantly during the “golden” years. Old age is inevitable, and that means that you should have some kind of plan in place for health in retirement.
Most of the sweat from this process stems from worries about being able to have the level of income and the health to be able to enjoy your “golden years”. The other sources of stress include having more free time to fill, with less money in your pocket to work with. There can be issues around self-esteem and identity that arise from no longer working. The changes to one’s social status and social network also come to bear. All of these changes can contribute to adverse health consequences for the retiree.
With the exception of those who choose, or who must continue to work past the traditional vestment ages, the age of retiring has decreased by three years. Life expectancy has increased by three years, and the time for completing school has increased by two years. This increases the amount of time we can expect to be on a pension.
Longitudinal studies from North America and Europe have indicated that those who retired (or already were retired) during the studies had more diagnosed chronic conditions than those who remained at work. These diagnoses included heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and mental illness.
In one of these studies, the retired subjects had a rate of diagnosed chronic disease, which was twice that of the working subjects. Cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack, angina, or stroke were diagnosed at a rate of four times greater in retirees.
The out of pocket expense for medicine is rising with expenditures ranging from $2,900 for those 55 to 65 and up to $4,400 for those 85 and up. The averages do not really reflect the variance of spending among the elderly, with half spending less than $920 and 10% more than $4,800.
One can plan for the best possible health in retirement by first, well, having a plan at all. You can gather knowledge from the internet and other media, and utilize the expertise of the many professionals, such as financial planners, insurance agents, doctors, lawyers, and others who can help make your years more “golden”.
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