An article in the Next Generation Personal Finances blog stated that as of February 2019, about 20 percent of senior citizens were either working or looking for work.
The reasons seniors continue working, or return to work after retirement are countless. Making more money is only one of those reasons. The long list includes improved mental health, staying physically fit and engaging socially, as well as contributing to society. A friend recently shared how it is not wise to be alone with one’s thoughts for hours on end.
An article I read while researching this column discussed a 90-year-old woman who was doing an internship while working towards a college degree.
It continues to amaze me how much COVID has permeated every area of our society, especially the work force. Years before the pandemic struck many employed seniors faced age discrimination as employers sought younger employees whom had updated skill sets, who could work for more years, and whom might accept less upfront pay.
According to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), 64 percent of senior citizens have either witness or personally experienced age discrimination. Many legal battles were fought over this.
Another issue was — and may still be — qualification discrimination. Often seniors were refused employment due to being over-qualified for the position they were seeking, even though these citizens were willing and able to work.
COVID totally changed these situations. Between the virus and the stimulus checks many businesses have been forced to close their doors due to lack of employees. No one seems willing to work. In areas of the country where COVID-19 is under control, senior citizens gladly go to work.
Younger employers are discovering how valuable these more mature employees truly are. Senior employees are more stable in their own lives, they have a stronger work ethic and have a greater understand of team work. They have broader skill sets and are willing to mentor younger employees.
Unfortunately there is another side to this situation. In areas where COVID is still of significant concern, many seniors are fearful to return to work at this time, feeling it may not yet be safe. As a result, they risk being terminated from their jobs. More legal battles are being fought.
It is my opinion that we should applaud and support these people who seek to rejoin the work force.
Seniors have already worked hard for decades and have earned the right to lay around and enjoy life.
Instead of doing so these conscientious citizens are actively improving their own lives and the lives of those in their work environment as well as contributing to our society and economy.
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Crystal Linn is a multi-published author and an award-winning poet. When not writing, or teaching workshops, Crystal enjoys reading a good mystery, hiking, and sailing with friends and family. See crystallinn.com.