December 28, 2011
Employment for many people who have reached retirement age is no longer an option, and a job has even become a necessity in some cases. The Home Instead Senior Care® network offers caregiving opportunities for seniors who like to help other seniors.
Q. I’m a 76-year-old widow looking for part-time work. I like to keep busy, but working in a store, restaurant or office doesn’t appeal to me. I’d rather help people. What can I do at my age?
Retiring at age 65 used to be the dream for many people, but times are changing. Older workers are returning to the employment ranks in increasing numbers for various reasons, from monetary needs to boredom. According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, there were more Americans 65 and older in the job market in 2009 than at any other time in history, 6.6 million, compared with 4.1 million in 2001.
Money has become a big factor in a senior’s decision to continue to work. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed by the MetLife Mature Market Institute overestimated how much savings they can draw and still maintain enough money to last through retirement. Forty-three percent thought they could withdraw more than 10 percent each year, while experts suggest a withdrawal rate of at most 4 percent, according to the institute. Outliving savings is the largest risk in retirement, the institute said.
The good news for seniors who feel compelled to keep working is that experience seems to be in demand. In a poll commissioned by Experience Wave, more than 70 percent of respondents believed that keeping experienced workers engaged in society is important. Experience Wave is a campaign supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies that advances federal and state policies to make it easier for mid-life and older adults to stay engaged in work and community life.
The study revealed that 59 percent of respondents who plan to retire expect to volunteer for a nonprofit or community organization, and an additional 14 percent plan to get training or learn a new skill for a different career. Additional findings of this study included the following: 53 percent said the wave of baby boomers hitting “retirement age’’ will be an asset to society as they represent a pool of skilled workers with more time to dedicate to their communities; and, 45 percent of respondents were still in the workforce in some capacity — with 27 percent of these respondents unsure when or even if they would retire.
For those who want to return to the workforce but aren’t sure what they want to do, it’s time to take a personal inventory. Make a list of experiences you have that few others do and see if you can get paid for them. Put together a resume that will help capture your talents and experience. Going through that process also could help you better determine what you’d like to do.
Since helping people is your interest, try to find places in your community that are looking for someone with your compassion and skills. Networking with friends and business associates is often your best place to find out what’s available in your employment market. Your senior center and local Area Agency on Aging could also be good sources for job opportunities on the local front. Check out classified ads and job boards. Talk with friends and acquaintances at your church or synagogue. Use the internet, too. Many companies, for instance, often post their needs for seasoned workers.
Because you enjoy helping people, you might want to consider being a private caregiver companion. Organizations like the local Home Instead Senior Care®, for example, like to hire veterans in life who are often near the age of those they’re caring for. Non-medical Home Instead CAREGiversSM serve as companions to seniors, and provide assistance with meal preparation, light housekeeping, medication reminders, errands and shopping. The company makes every effort to match seniors with CAREGivers of similar interests.
Remember, confidence in your skills and abilities go a long way in making a good impression on a prospective employer.
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