Retirees feel like they are 30 again, study finds

People in their late 60s feel like they are back in the prime of life. Photo: Phil CarrickRetirement makes people feel happier and healthier than they have done at any point since their mid-30s.

Figures released by Britain’s Office for National Statistics show that people in their late 60s feel like they are back in their prime, with similar levels of satisfaction with their health to those 30 years younger.

The incidence of anxiety and depression drops by almost a third between the early 50s and late 60s.

The figures suggest that those Britons in their late 60s are more carefree than any other age group, including young people. The report, published by the ONS in its ongoing “wellbeing” program, suggests that people’s sense of health and wellbeing is on a “downward trend” from their teens until late middle age before a sudden bounce in their 60s.

Retirement experts said that for some people the relief of finally retiring made them feel happier. For those who continue to work past retirement age, they may feel satisfaction at having made plans for the next phase of their life.

As part of a wider study of 40,000 households, part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s “happiness”, people were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their overall health as well as being asked a series of questions about any conditions that limit their everyday activities.

Overall, two-thirds of people indicated that they were satisfied with their health but the responses varied with age.


Those in the youngest group, aged 16 to 24, unsurprisingly ranked their health most highly with a 75 per cent satisfaction rate. People in their late 20s and early 30s showed a health satisfaction rate just over 70 per cent, which drifted to 69 per cent by the late 30s.

The rates fell to just over 60 per cent by the age of 59 but jumped to 67 per cent among those between 65 and 70. For men the rates continued at similar levels until their mid-70s.

Measures of mental wellbeing showed a similar pattern. The ONS found that almost one in five of the population exhibited some signs of at least low level anxiety and depression, based on responses to a series of questions.

The proportion peaked at 22 per cent among those in their late 40s and 50s but dropped to just 14 per cent among those in their late 60s.

Dr Ros Altman, a pensions expert and former government adviser on ageing, said that for those reaching retirement the realisation that they are still in good health, often unlike their parents’ generation, can itself be “life-enhancing”.

“The social narrative is that you reach retirement and you are decrepit or infirm or you are going to get ill but now most people find that that isn’t the case,” she said. “I suspect that what is happening socially is that as people reach their mid 50s, they are bound to start worrying about the next stage in their life which would normally be considered to be retirement.

“There will be a strand of people worrying about what they are going to do and not having enough money but once they reach their 60s they are more likely to have made their plans and have some idea of what they are going to do.”

Daily Telegraph, London

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.