30 Mar 2020
New research by BMJ shows the importance of social connections in retirement.
The Centre for Ageing Better responds to research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open showing that social group memberships in retirement are associated with increased quality of life and reduced risk of premature death.
Researchers from the University of Queensland compared the health of 410 people older than 50 after they retired with 424 people of a similar age who had not retired. The researchers found that if a person belonged to two groups before retirement and kept these up over the following six years, their risk of death was two per cent. This rose to five per cent if they left one group, and to 12% if they left both.
In addition, for every group membership that participants lost in the year following retirement, their quality of life six years later was approximately 10% lower.
Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said:
“This research supports the findings of our Later Life in 2015 study, which revealed that social connections are just as important as money and health to a good later life. Interestingly, our study pointed to the particular importance of strong social connections and how they help some people to overcome disadvantages such as poor health or a lack of financial security.”
“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to establish and maintain social connections – whether that is through living in an age friendly community, engaging in fulfilling work or volunteering, or participating in social activities, such as clubs and groups. Social connections are essential to everyone, but especially to people as they experience the major changes that are associated with later life. By understanding more about what influences a good later life, we can ensure fewer people miss out.”