A recently conducted study offers fresh insights into the impact of work-life balance (WLB) on the mental health of older adults, particularly in Korea. The study, which utilizes data from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging 2016 involving 5,751 participants aged 55 and over, proposes a new perspective on conventional WLB concepts, especially for this demographic group.
Work-Life Balance and Mental Health
The study reveals that older adults working less than 35 hours per week and engaging in frequent informal social activities are less likely to experience depressive symptoms. This finding underlines the importance of maintaining an optimal balance between work and social engagement in minimizing the risk of depression in older adults. It also introduces the concept of work-life fulfillment balance for older adults, which considers not only the need for income but also the psychological and social fulfillment derived from work.
Continued Employment for Healthy Aging
The research highlights the importance of continued employment for healthy aging and suggests that employment for older adults should be a public health priority. This proposition is particularly relevant in Korea, where the labor force participation rate for older adults is high, but so is the poverty rate among the elderly.
The Broader Context of Work-Life Balance
The study contributes to the broader understanding of WLB in the context of an aging workforce. It also reflects broader theories of WLB and the importance of work in providing social support and physical activity for older adults. The concepts presented in the study can be utilized to develop policies and practices that promote mental well-being and work-life balance among older adults in the workforce.