"When wives retire, they may monitor their husbands' health more closely, taking them to the doctor regularly and ensuring they lead a healthy lifestyle," Angela Curl, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri, says in a statement. "Women traditionally put the needs of everyone else before themselves, a behavior that could put their own health at risk."
Wives rated their health worse during the first few years of retirement, but their ratings improved in the long run. To ease the switch from full-time employment into retirement, Curl recommends a gradual transition to working less and maintaining some level of engagement in the workforce.
"There are a lot of health benefits to staying employed," Curl says. "Working just a few hours each week can facilitate better health."
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America.