Retiring at 65; health in the next phase of your life

As restrictions lift, many of us may be thinking that we’re not too keen on returning to working life as it was before the pandemic. We’ve probably not missed the long working hours, busy commutes and tightly-packed offices.

After all, retirement is just an end to one phase of your life. It’s also a beginning into a new phase not defined by work schedules, deadlines or sales targets. Retirement is potentially another 30 years of enjoying more time for hobbies, interests, travel, family and perhaps, even a new business of your own.

Most retirees imagine they will be at the same level of physical health and fitness for much of that period. However, the statistics show that isn’t the case for the majority of retirees.

A new Eurostat report on ageing sheds interesting light on the health patterns of older people (aged 65 and over, in their definition). It is a particularly interesting study as it draws data from the whole of the European Union. That’s 27 countries, from the sun-soaked shores of the Mediterranean in the south to the snows of Scandinavia in the north, and the borders of eastern Europe. The very breadth of the data makes it very powerful.

But let’s start closer to home.

Retirement age in Canada

There is no mandatory retirement age in Canada, as this has been outlawed by human rights legislation. Most Albertan residents choose to retire as they become eligible for the Alberta Seniors Benefit, at 65 years of age or older. This is close to the average age most Canadian workers retire at, according to Statistics Canada :

  • Public sector employees: average retirement age 62.4 years.
  • Private sector employees: average retirement age 64.7 years.
  • Self-employed: average retirement age 68 years.

European countries tend to have a similar retirement age, although many (like Canada) are gradually raising this to 67 or more over the next 10 years or so.

Longer life expectancy

One of the drivers behind the projected rise in retirees is the increase in life expectancy. The Eurostat report states that in 2019:

“Women aged 65 years could expect to live an additional 21.6 years.”

For men, the figure was lower, at 18.1 years. Either way, that’s an average of at least 20 years in retirement, probably ore as more people live to 85 and beyond.

However, here’s the drawback. Only around 50% of that post-retirement time would be spent in good health:

“Across the EU-27 in 2018, women aged 65 years could expect to live, on average, for 10.0 years of their remaining lives in a healthy condition, while the comparable figure for older men was lower, at 9.8 years.”

Independent living and aging

The ability of older people to live independently was also assessed. The EU report noted that:

“The share of the adult population that struggles with daily life — basic activities like eating, bathing and dressing — rises with age. One of the principal reasons behind this pattern is the relatively high share of older people who suffer from physical and sensory functional limitations, impacting on their vision, hearing, mobility, communication or ability to remember.”

Retaining mobility is a major factor in independent living for many older people. The EU report notes that:

  • Almost one third of people aged 75 years or more had severe difficulties in walking.
  • Around one quarter of all older women had severe difficulties in walking.
  • Almost three quarters of people aged 85 years or more had a long-standing illness or health problem.

This in turn impacts on their ability to stay healthy as “More than one tenth of people aged 75 years or more reported severe difficulties preparing meals.”

A helping hand from home care services

Living independently as you age in retirement doesn’t have to be a struggle. That’s what home care is for! It’s not just about personal care, but the daily chores too – laundry, meal planning, housekeeping, putting away groceries. So we were relieved to see that the report notes:

One fifth of women aged 75 years or more made use of homecare services.

(Gentlemen, we can take care of you too! Don’t be shy – do call us .)

Mental wellbeing and cognitive stimulation

We also know the importance of home care services to provide mental stimulation, companionship, social interaction and a regular friendly face. Home care services that offer a longer visit period (in our case, two hours) can combat loneliness, isolation, depression and can also help people with Alzheimer’s and dementia to live longer in their own home.

Home care can also provide much-needed respite care for those caring for loved ones 24/7, and who themselves might be prone to depression and isolation as a result.

Home care in Calgary

If you’d like to discuss home care for yourself or a loved one, just contact us to book a consultation. Together, we’ll go through your requirements, and devise a care plan individually tailored o your requirements, whether a single visit a week or regular visits.


539, 5940 Macleod Trail SWCalgary, AB