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What can I do to prevent depression after I retire?

You can prevent depression after you retire by taking steps to maintain your self-esteem. Self-esteem tends to drop steadily beginning at retirement. Declining self-esteem may contribute to higher stress levels and a higher likelihood of depression. If you’re an older adult who has experienced a loss of self-esteem in recent years, these confidence-building activities can help:
  • Meet new people. Good friends make you feel loved and appreciated, which increases your sense of self-worth.
  • Learn something new. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance to? Perhaps it’s studying a foreign language or learning how to use a computer. Developing new skills helps your mind stay sharp.
  • Stay informed. Whether it’s world events or just what’s going on in your friends’ lives, staying up to date on the latest news increases your sense of connection and empathy.
  • Maintain your muscles. Go on walks every day to strengthen your muscles and improve balance. By preserving your mobility, you can enjoy living independently -- a major factor in self-esteem.
Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
Philip Lisagor, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
For some retirees, retirement living enables them to spend more time in a sport or hobby, while others become restless and suffer from depression as a result of the loss of work and meaning. Since retirement occurs with increasing age and getting older correlates with deterioration of one's health, then you can understand how one associates depression with retirement. Studies, however, have shown that healthy elders are as happy or happier and have an equal quality of life as they age compared to younger employed adults. Therefore, retirement is not as strong an influence on depression as ill health, but still can contribute to a lack of meaning or self-worth.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.