December 9, 2016
A new report on the state of the public’s health and wellbeing, ‘Baby Boomers: Fit for the Future’, by Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, advises that good quality work is good for baby boomers’ health and that employers have a role to play by helping their staff to remain healthy enough to stay in employment. According to the report on those aged between 50 and 70, there is an increasing body of evidence that for most people ‘good work’ is good for personal health, organisational productivity and economic prosperity. It also advises since many people define themselves and their position in society in terms of their job, staying in employment is also a significant contributor to self-esteem. The report also finds there is promising evidence that the continued social engagement that some people find in employment may defer the onset of cognitive decline and the risk of dementia.
“People are living longer than ever and so retirement presents a real opportunity for baby boomers to be more active than ever before,” said Professor Sally Davies. “For many people it is a chance to take on new challenges, it is certainly not the start of a slower pace of life it once was. Staying in work, volunteering or joining a community group can make sure people stay physically and mentally active for longer. The health benefits of this cannot be overestimated.”
By 2020 estimates show that a third of British workers will be aged over 50 and the report confirms that more than 75 percent of people aged between 50 and pension age are still in active employment, with 12 percent of those older than pension age also still working. More women now work too: women now represent 46 percent of the workforce compared with 30 percent.
The report does warn however that as the UK workforce ages, works longer and retires later, the burden of ill-health and wellbeing in the working age population is set to increase and dementia is likely to become a more visible issue requiring management in the workplace.