Does Working Longer Increase Longevity?

According to a 2016 study of about 3,000 people, working even one more year beyond retirement age was associated with a 9% to 11% lower risk of dying during the 18-year study period, regardless of health. Working longer has benefits such as keeping people mentally engaged with work they value and/or enjoy, having a sense of purpose, and preventing or reducing loneliness.

Below are two inspiring stories about the value of “unretiring” to work longer, or simply continuing to work well beyond the traditional retirement age.

Why this 100-year-old Woman is Never Retiring

When Jayne Burns turned 100 last summer (photo at right), she told her friends that she had one wish: “to keep working.” She’s had the same part-time job as a fabric cutter at Joann Fabric and Crafts store in Mason, Ohio for 26 years — and it’s still one of her favorite ways to spend time.

“I enjoy what I do, so I want to keep doing it,” she says. “I’ll work for as long as I can or as long as they’ll have me.”

Burns — who turns 101 on July 26 — didn’t plan on working past 100. She tried retiring several times throughout her 70s and 80s, then would “unretire” just a few months later, taking bookkeeping jobs at veterinarian offices and accounting firms. Prior to joining Joann, Burns was a bookkeeper for most of her career.

“I like the routine, I like to keep moving,” she says.



Advice from the Oldest Practicing Physician

The world’s oldest practicing doctor knows a thing or two about how to live a long and happy life — but you might not like everything he has to say.

For Dr. Howard Tucker — who just turned 101 on July 10 — a key secret to his longevity is meaningful work.

Tucker received his medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1947 and he has practiced neurology for 75 years — eventually earning the Guinness World Records title of the world’s oldest practicing physician.

The chipper centenarian has lived a remarkable life, sharing many happy years with his wife Sara (who still practices psychoanalysis and psychiatry at age 89), his four children and 10 grandchildren.

While Dr. Tucker says “good genes and a bit of luck” can help to extend your life, he also follows a few simple lifestyle rules that boost his health and happiness.


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