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Working after Retirement and through the Senior Years

Working after Retirement and through the Senior YearsThe reality is that not all seniors want to be out of the work environment and there are several possible reasons for this desire to continue working. The idea of not being productively engaged in some sector of industry is one such issue and there are many seniors who enjoy continuing with a job. The issue of taking up either part time or full time employment as a senior has also become one of concern due to economic reasons.

Many seniors experience difficulty surviving financially on limited savings and pensions and need to supplement their income especially with the rising cost of living across the globe. Whatever the reason, the reality is that seniors may either want or need to work but the question often arises especially from family, friends, work colleagues and sometimes customers – should a senior be in the work environment?

Which seniors should be working?

Those who are concerned about seniors being in the work environment and even seniors themselves, should first ask – what does it take to have a good employee irrespective of age. The key points are an employee with :

  • Endurance to handle the physical side of the job
  • Mental faculties for conducting the mental side of tasks
  • Knowledge of the industry to fulfil the position
  • Experience in the specific job and industry

Age as such should not be a criterion if a person is able to meet with these requirements. Although there are some labor restrictions in terms of people working certain jobs, there is no reason why a senior cannot continue contributing productively in other jobs if they are fit to do so.

Problems with working in the senior years

Although seniors may have a wealth of experience for certain jobs, the age-related deterioration in the body and onset of chronic conditions are the major limiting factors for working in the latter years. A short career span is another. However, not every senior has these chronic conditions or are severely limited by physical and mental changes with age.

There is nevertheless the risk of even minor age-related deterioration in the senses, coordination, muscle strength and cognitive function compromising a senior’s ability to perform certain tasks as required. When this involves driving and operating heavy machinery, it can lead to accidents that can place the senior, other workers and members of the public at risk. A company is also more likely to face litigation in this regard.

Problems with finding a job in the senior years

Often the problem lies in businesses not wanting to invest in seniors as they have a short career span ahead. Businesses would rather have older employees hand over the reigns to younger workers who are more likely to remain for longer periods of time in the company. Younger workers are also less likely to face health constraints as is the case with the elderly and businesses therefore see them as being more productive in the long term.

It is important that seniors be practical about their ability to work. Businesses lose money when employees cannot attend work and seniors are more likely to take days off for being ill. The company can therefore not be assured of continued and uninterrupted service. Once the business activities of a company are being compromised, a senior may not have any job security.

Nevertheless there are many businesses that value the contribution of employees in their senior years. Similarly there are seniors who are keen to work and capable of doing the job well, sometimes even better than their younger counterparts. Apart from the financial remuneration, working can give a senior a more structured purpose in life, which can also prove to be beneficial in one’s physical and mental health.


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