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Still Have the Itch to Work? Jobs for Seniors


What Does ‘Retirement’ Mean Anymore?

For a vast number of older adults, retirement represents the completion of a lifetime’s worth of work in a particular industry but it doesn’t necessarily signify the end of work altogether.  Many seniors choose to go back to work on a flex-hour schedule, supply teach, acquire a part time job close to home or experiment in an entrepreneurial field of interest.  For most, 50+, 55+ or 65+ doesn’t call for less work, but rather…different work.

Why Seniors Want to Work

For the majority of working seniors, career advancement is not the goal.  Social involvement, regular people interaction, keeping busy and a boosted income are among the most popular reasons so many older adults choose to continue working well into their senior years.  A job – any job – tends to provide a certain sense of purpose and belonging, which points to the fact that seniors’ jobs can have positive lifestyle implications.

Working Seniors

We often spend most of our work lives dreading early Monday morning alarm clocks, begging for more vacation time, or watching the second hand tick its way around the office clock on a Friday afternoon.  Why then, does retirement not mean what it used to?  Why do so many of us choose not to retire fully?  The answer to these questions vary among all of us, but here are some of the most common explanations of why our aging population makes the conscious decision to stay in the workforce:
Money – Pension Plans, 401K Plans, RRSPs and Individual Retirement Accounts may be insecure or insufficient.  In order to live the way we always dreamed of in our retirement, many of us choose to earn more, so we can have more.
Social Connection – Disconnectedness from society can be unnerving.  Seniors choose to work so that they can unite with other people, make new friends, and maintain contact with the world around them.
Purpose – When we have work, we have a sense of purpose.  Our alarm goes off because we are expected at work.  The weekend arrives and we feel as though we’ve earned a break.  This routine creates organization and ordered principle in our lives.
Love and Fear – Some people love to work and may even refer to themselves as ‘workaholics’.  In this case, the decision to work is made out of passion.  On the other side of the spectrum, seniors share a common fear: the fear of getting old.  For those of us who fall into this group, a job, a responsibility, and a busy life schedule ‘keep us young’.  To delay uncomfortable adjustments to a non-working lifestyle, we choose to stay in the workforce as long as possible.

Benefits of Jobs for Seniors

Although as seniors our reasons to stay employed vary far and wide, there are a few possible benefits associated with working during our older adult years:   
  • Elevated mood
  • Increased social interaction
  • Brain stimulation
  • Enhanced physical activity
These factors play a role in our personal health and wellbeing.  By incorporating a little work into your life, you may be more inclined to age well, emotionally, mentally and physically.

Workforce Dynamics

As the number of seniors in the workforce continues to grow, employers have begun to implement senior-friendly programs in order to accommodate this segment of the population.  The wisdom, experience and hard work so many older adults bring to the table make it difficult for employers to turn them down and yet, senior employees call for a more accommodating work environment.
Employers who value the senior worker offer flex-schedules, part-time positions, sabbaticals, tele-working opportunities, shift work and lifelong learning initiatives.  As the percentage of older workers continues to rise in upcoming years, we can be sure that an ever-growing number of employers will adopt these and other resourceful incentives to support older adult workers.
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