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  • Writer's pictureDamilola Agubata

Navigating Age-Related Health Conditions in Retirement

Retirement in itself can be a murky stage, but that’s not all. There’s also an inescapable aspect that is just as important as — perhaps even more important than — the mental resignation to the new status. And when we talk about the elephant in the room, we mean physical health conditions. These are conditions that don’t give you a warning (think Alzheimer’s) and are rarely curable to a great extent.

This, therefore, poses the question: how does one navigate such a challenging phase of one’s life, especially when one also has to come to grips with work withdrawal? It’s undoubtedly a lot to take on all at once.

In this article, we’ll look at how it has been for 64-year-old Shittu Adekunle* who was diagnosed with diabetes (type 2 diabetes mellitus precisely) five years ago. Up until his retirement, Adekunle was an officer of the Nigeria Customs Service with the rank of Superintendent (ASC II).

Navigating Age-Related Health Conditions in Retirement. Credit: Oak Pensions
Navigating Age-Related Health Conditions in Retirement. Credit: Oak Pensions

“I wasn’t exactly excited about my retirement,” Shittu recalls the first time it occurred to him that he was due for retirement. “I had worked for the mandatory 35 years, but it still felt as though something was missing,” he said while reminiscing about his Pre-Retirement Notice.

“My three months pre-retirement leave had me catching up on the news in my sitting room one evening and going in and out of the doctor’s room for the succeeding 12 weeks. I wouldn’t say that it was a dark period of my life, but getting diagnosed with a serious health condition such as diabetes while I was a few days away from full retirement had me contemplating a variety of things — it was a lot to take in,” he continued.

Meanwhile, a study entitled The Effects of Retirement on Physical and Mental Health Outcomes (2008), discovered that “complete retirement leads to a 5-16 per cent increase in difficulties associated with mobility and daily activities, a 5-6 per cent increase in illness conditions, and 6-9 per cent decline in mental health, over an average post-retirement period of six years. Lifestyle changes such as declines in physical activity and social interactions are said to be the cause.”

In another study, Associations of Chronic Illnesses and Socio-demographic Factors with Health-related Quality of Life of Older Adults in Nigeria (2020), Faronbi et al. state that “the inability of the government to cope with regular payment of pensions to the retired workforce; living in environments with the weak health system as well as an acute lack of geriatrics care, is posing an enormous challenge to the health of older people.”

Shittu who lost his wife twelve years ago currently lives alone but regularly receives visits from his daughter who is married with two children. While he is not averse to elderly care homes, he does not see himself in a home in the nearest future. He is also not oblivious to the fact that other offshoots of his main condition may spring up and take a toll on his overall (including mental) health status.

At Oak Pensions, our duty is to ensure that your retirement is not agonizing despite a life-changing diagnosis. You can transfer your pension fund contributions in your Retirement Savings Account (RSA) to Oak Pensions. For more information on RSAs, contact us via, or call the Marketing Manager on 09087448661.

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