Older women’s health outcomes during retirement

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Francine Hebert Sheppard (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Debra Wallace

Abstract: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine selected health outcomes in women aged 55 years and older during retirement and to determine whether a relationship exists between women’s health outcomes and aspects of retirement, including status (part or full-time retirement), type (voluntary or forced retirement), and timing (early-prior to age 65-or on-time). This study was guided by the Roy’s Adaptation Model, with health viewed as adaptations to the focal stimulus of retirement within the model’s four adaptive modes: physiological, self-concept, role function, and interdependence. Eighty women aged 55 years and older who were retired at least part-time from working outside the home were recruited using convenience sampling from senior and community settings within five southeastern US states (North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Louisiana). The average age of participants was 66 years. The average retirement age was 62 years. The majority of women were white, married, non-caregivers, and resided in rural areas. Health outcomes and health conditions were collected using self-report questionnaires by participants. Health outcomes included physical function, self-assessed health, functionality, and social support. Health conditions included chronic conditions such as diabetes, chronic heart disease, and memory impairment. Differences in the proportion of women grouped by retirement type, timing, or status were examined for measures in each of the four adaptation modes. Retirement group differences were compared using one-way ANOVA and Chi-square tests. Women’s retirement experiences were explored using open-ended questions. This study generated new knowledge regarding how retirement status, type, and timing relate to essential health outcomes for the fast-growing population of women retirees in the United States. Type of retirement was found to be significantly associated with variables representing all four RAM adaptive modes, with forced retirement showing poorer health outcomes compared to voluntary retirement. Retirement type may have important implications in multiple health-related aspects of what is often a lengthy two-decade retirement period for women. A greater proportion of forced retirees reported diabetes, stroke, and memory loss compared to voluntary retirees in this study. This is significant due to connections previously described in the literature between these health conditions. Forced retirement type was related to lower self-rated health, lower functionality, less participation in volunteer activities, and less emotional support from others. Women of minority race/ethnicity in this study were more likely to have forced retirements than white women. Forced retirement can create an economically-challenging situation that impacts health through a myriad of pathways including lowering self-esteem, decreasing quality of life, and decreasing health-seeking behaviors. The ability to better predict and address health changes in older women will aid in preserving their safety and independence and help offer the best quality of life for as long as possible. This new knowledge reveals useful information for clinicians and has important implications that may lead to early interventions for this population to improve health outcomes during retirement. In addition, labor or corporate employers should consider strategies that include greater job flexibility options to increase employee retention and re-evaluate current policies when planning women’s retirement.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Health outcomes, Retirement, Women
Women $x Retirement
Retirement $x Health aspects
Older women $x Health and hygiene

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