The Effect of Retirement on Mental Health – Retiring Minds Want to Know

Hook Law News | Apr 19, 2021 | Rachel H. Snead

The questions most people think about before retirement are “How much money will I need?” and “Am I saving enough?” While financial security is certainly critical, emotional and psychological impacts of retirement are important considerations as well. Too few people consider the psychological adjustments that accompany this stage of life, which can include coping with the loss of one’s career identity, replacing support networks built through work, spending more time than ever before with your spouse, and finding new and engaging ways to stay active.

Retirement is often romanticized as a time when people can finally kick back and enjoy family-time and hobbies that they had not been able to indulge in during their working lives. Some retirees do ease smoothly into retirement, however, many do not. Research from the Institute of Economic Affairs suggests that while retirement may initially benefit health by reducing stress and creating time for other activities, adverse effects increase the longer retirement goes on. It found that retirement increases the chances of suffering from clinical depression by around 40%. But why is this?

One reason is loneliness and isolation. When someone’s social life has been tied up with work, retirement can seem to take it all away. Work takes up a lot of our waking hours and many of us build friendships and support networks through our jobs. At the same time, our relationships outside of work can be difficult to maintain and can suffer as a result due to a lack of time and energy to invest in them. After retirement it is important to maintain relationships with friends and family or to build new relationships. Humans are social creatures after all, and our mental health is detrimentally impacted when we do not engage with others over long periods of time.

Another reason is immobility and inactivity. It may be that there is no imperative to get up and out of the house, as there was when there was a daily journey to work. Or it may be that the retiree has not discovered hobbies and activities that they enjoy doing. But experts agree that being active is good for you on many levels. Simply walking can offer great benefits, including boosting your mood, as can gentle exercise classes. Keeping your mind and body active will help prevent depression and other illnesses.

The important takeaway for retirees is to stay active, maintain social connections and most importantly, do things that make you happy. Volunteer at an animal shelter, join a book club, garden, read books, adopt a dog or cat, try new restaurants, set up standing lunch dates with friends or family, learn a new language, etc. Do something to set your days apart and challenge your brain in one way or another and you will reap the rewards and truly get the most out of your golden years.


Client: Will a revocable living trust protect my assets against the cost of nursing home care?

Rachel Snead: No. All assets in a typical revocable living trust are deemed to belong to the trust grantor, which would be you. If this is something you or a loved one are worried about, it may be beneficial for you to speak further with one of our attorneys.

FIV+ Cats Are Pawsitively Adoptable

Hi! My name is Bertie. I am a very special kitty and very handsome as you can see. Look at all this long, luscious fur! It is quite the chore to keep myself looking dapper. A few of my favorite things are doing zoomies around the house, napping in sunbeams and soft beds, being vigorously patted, snuggling with my mommy, playing with my brother and sisters, and eating sliced turkey and tuna fish for snackums.

While I may look like a purebred cat, I am a rescue who had a rough start in life. I was found living in a feral cat colony as an adolescent with a kitten collar grown into my neck. I had been sick and did not get the treatment I needed initially. Eventually, a caretaker of the colony caught me and took me to the vet where the collar was removed, and I was given the medical care that I needed. While running tests the vets learned that I was FIV+. For many cats like me that is the end of their story but luckily my mommy wanted to give me a chance at a long happy life. That was almost 8 years ago!

FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) is a widely misunderstood condition. Many cats like me are not adopted, feared, and even put to sleep because people think that FIV is easily spread and that cats with it have a shorter life expectancy. In fact, cats with FIV can live long and completely normal lives with regular veterinary care and a healthy diet. FIV positive cats and FIV negative cats can even live together sharing food and water and litter boxes and never transmit the disease. Three of my four siblings are FIV negative, and they have never caught it from me. That is because FIV is not spread through casual contact such as shared food/water/litter, mutual grooming, or playing.

The next time you or a friend are looking to adopt a kitty to join your family consider adopting a special kitty like me! You will not regret it.

Rachel H. Snead

757-399-7506 | 252-722-2890
[email protected]

Rachel Snead is an associate attorney with Hook Law practicing primarily in the areas of estate planning, estate and trust administration, guardianship and conservatorships, dispute resolution, and fiduciary litigation. To date, she has litigated and settled over 50 matters. She enjoys the diversity of work that elder law provides, and the challenges presented by litigation just as much as she enjoys helping people with creating their unique estate plan and navigating the complex administration of estates and trusts.

 A graduate of the University of Richmond School of Law and Virginia Commonwealth University, Rachel is admitted to the Virginia State Bar. She is also a member of the Virginia Bar Association (VBA), the Hampton Roads Estate Planning Council, the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (VAELA), and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (VTLA).

In 2022 she became a licensed health and life insurance agent and attended the prestigious National Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia School of Law where she received intensive hands-on advocacy training.

 She has taught multiple continuing legal education courses including, “Getting Started in Elder Law,” “Virginia Probate from Start to Finish,” and “Guardianships and Assisted Decision-Making in Virginia,” and has facilitated sessions for VAELA including “Medicaid & SSI When a Client Owns a Business.” She has also been published on various platforms including T & E Magazine, and Age in Action, a quarterly newsletter published by the Virginia Center on Aging and Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

Practice Areas

  • Estate Planning
  • Estate & Trust Administration
  • Guardianships & Conservatorships
  • Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Make a Plan
Let's make a plan.
We help individuals and their families navigate the legal maze and implement plans to secure their futures. By working together, we're able to offer comprehensive planning, life care services and legal representation, giving you peace of mind for what ever life brings.