Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news Events PhD ceremonies

Social engagement during the retirement transition

insights into volunteering, caregiving, and grandparenting
PhD ceremony:Ms O. (Olga) Grünwald
When:September 26, 2022
Supervisor:prof. dr. C.J.I.M. (Kène) Henkens
Co-supervisor:dr. M. Damman
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Social engagement during the retirement transition

Radical changes occurred in late-career work and retirement in the last decade. Next to increased retirement ages, employment beyond public pension age is becoming more common. This research investigates the implications of longer working lives for social engagement in the Netherlands, focusing on volunteer work, informal care, and grandchild care during the retirement transition. The findings suggest that especially the emergence of paid post-retirement jobs might reduce the participation in volunteer work of recent retirees, as the two activities compete with each other. The findings further imply that the extension of working lives will not discourage the provision of informal care, but rather may increase the share of older workers who combine paid work with informal care. Moreover, the findings demonstrate that grandparents play an active role in family life after retirement, even when they work in paid post-retirement jobs. Yet, delayed retirement due to increases in the public pension age will likely reduce the share of grandparents available for grandparenting. Taken together, this research highlights the unintended side effects of extending working lives for social engagement. As future cohorts of older workers will work longer, the combination of paid work and social engagement will continue to require the attention of policy makers, organisations, family members and older adults themselves.