Lots of gloom-and-doom forecasts are out there about the demise of Social Security and how Americans will likely have to work past 65 in the not-too-distant future. Don't sweat it, advises geriatrician Katherine Schlaerth in the Los Angeles Times. Generally speaking, people stay fitter, happier, and more mentally sharp when they work past the usual retirement age, she writes. Some people can't do it physically, of course, but for most, the benefits outweigh the costs.
"I've come to believe that working longer is generally a good thing," writes Schlaerth, citing studies and anecdotal evidence from her own patients. "Most people just plain do better, both intellectually and physically, when they continue to work. I've observed many times that mature patients who quit working—whether they have been laid off or retired voluntarily—are likely to gain weight, become hypertensive, and even develop depression."