February 19

Should Retirement Be One’s Goal in Life?

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

Rick Banas, Vice President of Development and Positioning for Gardant Management Solutions
A posting earlier this week on Facebook has me thinking, especially since I will be turning 65 in just over six months.

In the posting, The Blue Zones noted that in areas around the world where people tend to live the longest and healthiest, there is no such thing as retirement.

The Blue Zones is an organization founded and headed by National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner. From the extensive research conducted by Dan and his team, the Blue Zones believes it has discovered the secrets to not only living longer, but better, happier and healthier lives. Among the keys are remaining physically and socially active and having a sense of purpose.

The Facebook comment was in response to a story by Ariana Eunjung Cha that was posted Wednesday on the Washington Post To Your Health website. In the story, Ariana looks at research that was conducted on the impact that social engagement or isolation has on the cognitive abilities, happiness and the overall health of older adults. The conclusion drawn from the study’s findings indicates that belonging to social groups reduces the risk of death in the years following retirement.

Doing further research, I discovered a report that was published less than six months ago in the September issue of Preventing Chronic Illness.  The report is about a study conducted by the University of Miami on the health of older adults.  Preventing Chronic Illness is a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings of the study are based on an analysis of data collected over a 15-year period dating from 1997 through 2011.

The research indicates that employed older adults had better health outcomes than unemployed older adults. Older adults who were either unemployed or retired were at the greatest risk of having poor health.

You can click here to read the report.

National Public Radio reporter Michaeleen Doucleff wrote a story about the study for the station’s All Things Considered segment. She references her father-in-law, who, at the age of 70, continues to get up before two in the morning to go to work in the bakery he owns. He wants to make sure the donuts and coffee cakes are ready when he opens the bakery at six.

His bakery is located in the St. Louis Metro East area, where we manage the three Cambridge House affordable assisted living communities.

As Michaeleen notes in her story, her father-in-law’s work at the bakery provides him with purpose. He continues to be physically and socially active.

Click here to read Michaeleen’s story.

I remember when we would visit my uncle in Michigan, he would go to bed shortly after we finished dinner. He was a baker, owned a bakery in Hazel Park and worked a similar schedule.

The information lends further credence to my plan to continue working for as long as I can. What Gardant does in helping develop and in managing assisted living, memory care and senior living communities provides wonderful purpose. The same holds true for our emphasis on providing residents with the Love, Compassion and Dignity they deserve, in addition to the services and assistance they need. Residents also benefit from living in an environment where opportunities to be physically and mentally active, and to be socially connected, are plentiful.

The information also serves as a reminder that if I reach a point where I should desire to retire that I only retire from employment. I need to have a game plan in place for continuing to have purpose and for staying active.

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