A joint project between Icelandic and Polish universities has attempted to address the best practices to prepare people for retirement. The project, called BALL, encourages training and ongoing learning as early as age 50, in order to help people live a healthy life.
In Europe, someone who is aged 50–55 has an estimated 10–15 years before retirement, at which point they can be expected to live for another 20. Retirement can be a rather jarring shift, as people who have spent most of their life in full-time employment are suddenly on their own. Without proper planning and support, depression or other mental illnesses can occur. People are living longer, so it’s even more important that they maintain their health once they retire.
The BALL Report
The BALL report stresses the importance of ongoing learning, a stable environmental and cultural life, and constant knowledge-sharing in order to help retirees and those who are approaching retirement age. In broad strokes, the project is an awareness campaign meant to encourage physical activity, and to help inspire a sense of inclusion and/or purpose in retirees. More specifically, focus is given to the idea of “reinvention.”
Those who are approaching retirement will ideally be able to train themselves for their new life by considering ways to approach new experiences. Trying new hobbies, volunteering, or otherwise engaging in new activities helps keep retirees engaged, active, and in better spirits. Good organization and guidance is important to this process and can help make a healthy retirement possible.
The findings have been given to the EU, and time will tell if they put any into practice. Some of the companies who participated in the BALL project have already taken initiative to incorporate the recommendations into their own practices.