Senior citizens who want to stay busy might enjoy a job that will keep them active and engaged.
For some seniors, work may be a necessity. Those without pensions or lucrative 401k savings accounts may need the extra income. Saving for retirement is great when the stock market does well; if it doesn’t, it can lead to financial challenges that may necessitate going back to work.
Others may simply wish to remain active.
Finally, some may want or need to supplement their Social Security benefits and/or 401k/IRA to help make ends meet, or to provide extra savings for later years.
The good news is the work world remains open for all. The market has jobs, full- and part-time and work-at-home jobs to the point that by 2024, 25% of workers are expected to be seniors.
The Benefits for Seniors of Working
For those at or past retirement age, the benefits of work go beyond financial reward. Whether the decision is made out of necessity or preference, these benefits include.
- Social interaction: Scientific study tells us that loneliness and isolation contribute to seniors experiencing cognitive decline. Social interaction helps improve memory retention and helps continue learning, which keeps the mind sharp.
- Staying active: The Center for Disease Control says that staying active can delay many of the health problems that come with aging. This activity can take the form of some kind of daily exercise, or being active in a job that keeps the mind and body working.
- Sense of accomplishment and purpose: Many seniors experienced the debilitating feeling of loneliness during the pandemic. Now, almost 14 million seniors live alone, which can lead to feelings of isolation. Being active in the work world provides a built-in support system to keep seniors engaged and active in mind and body.
- Enjoying life: For some, work is a benefit to mental and physical health. A Merrill Lynch study found that 83% of retirees agreed work makes them feel younger.
- Mental well-being: The Institute of Economic Affairs reports that retirement increases the risk of depression by 40%. Going from working every day to not at all might work for some; for others, the sudden change is debilitating. Keeping active, even in a part-time job, may reduce the risk of depression.
- Able to transfer knowledge/skills to younger generations: We are all proud of what we’ve done. Being able to pass that knowledge is a self-affirming action that provides mental health benefits.
What Qualities Are Employers Looking For?
Employers will not give a senior a job just because he or she needs one. Businesses benefit from positive traits from any employee, young and old.
However, seniors bring something to a business that young workers may not, including institutional knowledge, the experience of knowing the best way to approach a job, and the commitment to do the work.
The traits employers seek from seniors may include:
- Loyalty: The U.S. Labor Department reports that seniors hired for a job are more likely to stay in the job. Younger workers may be seeking the next best opportunity.
- Reliability: Employers may be pleased to learn how reliable seniors are. The Columbia University Medical Center reports that seniors stay in jobs longer (10 years compared to three for workers aged 25-34) and take fewer days off than younger workers.
- Good work ethic: AARP reports that 70% of Human Resources managers cited this trait as the main reason seniors are good hires. AARP calls this the value of experience.
- Good attitude: Seniors work in many cases because they want to, not because they have to. Regardless, their work helps ease their financial burden and benefits their social well-being. The result is they often bring the right attitude to the workplace.
- Looking to help/mentor younger members of the team: Passing on what we know is passing on our legacy. A growing number of young people report they are happy to learn from more experienced workers. This ability to pay it forward helps both generations.
In many hiring situations, who you are is more important than what you do. With seniors, who they are means they bring life and work experience and a professional attitude that makes them willing to work.
Jobs for Seniors With a Career
Seniors who have experience in a skilled profession may be able to use that knowledge in the work world without having to commit to a full-time job. Some businesses will even pay extra to experienced workers willing to mentor and tutor younger employees.
Those with advanced degrees and/or extensive work experience may be able to find part-time tutoring work at colleges or a trade school. Seniors who are tech savvy about marketing themselves could even offer to be private tutors.
Teacher or Lecturer
Post high school institutions are more than happy to hire adjunct professors from the work world. It saves the school a full-time salary and keeps a senior active in teaching a course about their life’s work.
Seniors who worked in finance may be able to find work in bookkeeping with a business or community. This work would require accounting or finance basics, and knowledge of computers and spreadsheet programs. The fact it is done on the computer may even allow a senior to do this work remotely.
Part-Time Jobs for Seniors
Part-time work provides several benefits. Employers gain a knowledgeable, trustworthy employee for some shifts during the week. Seniors gain something to boost their confidence and help pass the time, while earning extra dollars.
A senior who finds part-time work can decide how many hours he wants to work and have a say in when. Part-time work offers flexibility for the employer and the employee. And any job, full -or part-time, offers the benefits of work that we already mentioned.
Many retail stores will hire seniors because they are dependable and responsible. Retail work provides social opportunities and the chance to interact with customers. There are even discounts available from some stores. Some stores are open late, so keep that in mind, but some also will offer health care coverage to part-time workers.
A greeter could work in a store, bank, restaurant, or hotel. Basically, it’s the greeter’s job to welcome customers and ask if they can be pointed in a particular direction. This job is a good one if you enjoy meeting people and saying hello.
If you enjoy being behind the wheel, this is the job for you. The beauty of it is you work when you want for as long as you want. Don’t want to work weekend hours when some riders may be trying to avoid a DUI? Then don’t. This kind of work can be tailored to your schedule.
DoorDash/Food Delivery Driver
Like Uber and Lyft, this job is done on your terms, and in some ways it’s easier than Uber or Lyft. The job entails picking up meals which customers have pre-ordered at local restaurants and delivering them to the home. Since COVID, some deliveries are merely done by ringing the doorbell and leaving the food at the front door.
The local library is one of the most pleasant places to spend time. If books are your thing, jobs are available shelving books, working the check-in and/or checkout desk or organizing and cataloging books. A library is a relaxing and pleasant place to be. A job there does not bring high stress.
Those with a green thumb will probably garden in their spare time, so perhaps that passion could be turned into work. A local gardening store may appreciate your knowledge, or a landscaping service may appreciate what you can bring to homeowners.
Animal lovers can find great joy helping others take care of their dogs. People who work may need their dogs fed or even walked a couple times a day. Sitting for a dog when the owner is away also can be an easy way to make money – as long as the dog is good-natured. Those with smartphone skills could set up their own pet care business on the app called Rover.
School Bus Driver
If you’re up for taking care of a bus load of school children and ready to accept the responsibility for their safety, driving a school bus could provide activity and money. It’s not for everyone, though, so be sure this is your cup of adolescence. This job also requires a commercial driver’s license, a clean driving record and background check.
Yes, it’s demanding to take care of a child, but it’s also potentially rewarding. The pay might not be great, but the unseen benefits of interacting with a young person and being part of his or her life are many.
An office clerk could work anywhere, and handle tasks as different as answering phones or sorting mail. It’s not the most exciting work, but it does provide mental stimulus and activity. Typically, these jobs are found in education, health care and social assistance work.
A part-time housekeeper could help at a private home or business like a hospital or hotel. It’s physically demanding for seniors but provides the chance to set a flexible schedule.
If you have knowledge about a local landmark or historic site, sharing that knowledge can be empowering. You have to know what you’re talking about, but if you do, it may help you meet new people and open their eyes to something you love.
Coach or Referee
Working with youth sports is always an adventure, so helping coach a team or even referee a league could enliven a senior’s daily life. Some communities require a certification to coach, and all should know first aid and complete a background check. Keep in mind: You’ll do this because you want to. The pay is not great.
Many seniors find enjoyment in music and singing. Think Barbershop singers, where a senior could be the tenor or bass. Finding paid work would require a commitment to practice, and a background in local theater, music or the performing arts is beneficial.
This skill could serve two purposes: It allows a senior to continue to work at a hobby, and if the product can be sold, it can provide some extra money. Artwork or ceramics could be sold at numerous local markets or perhaps even a local coffee shop. In the social media economy, a website could be set up through an outlet like Etsy.
Work At Home Jobs for Seniors
With more and more of us working at home, there’s no reason a senior can’t do the same. Work-at-home opportunities are plentiful, and employers are more open to the idea than ever.
Data Entry Work
If you can sit at home and enter data on a computer, this is the job for you. It may be especially beneficial for those with a disability who may have trouble getting around. The work may not be exciting, but it keeps the mind active.
Yes, many dread getting a call from a telemarketer. But if a senior doesn’t do the job, someone else will. If you have good phone manners and can speak pleasantly with people, you may find success.
This kind of work is good for former editors, writers or teachers who know grammar and sentence structure. Proofreaders ensure writing is clean and clear, and that page numbers, headings and photo captions are proper. It requires a sharp mind, but those who have done the work find it rewarding.
Virtual assistants do the work of administrative assistants, but they do it at home. If scheduling and organization are your forte, this work could be for you. Because this job can be done anywhere, it could even be done while traveling or visiting the grandkids.
Content Writer or Editor
Many websites produce their own content. If you have particular knowledge about a business or issue, it might be worth writing for the site that fits your expertise. The work can be done at home and for more than one site as a freelancer.
Explore More Content for Seniors
Help and advice for seniors is available in several places and on several topics on InCharge.org.
The web site offers financial help for senior citizens, with tips that include budgeting and where to find assistance. If money is short or there’s a need to meet a major expense advice is available on loans for seniors on Social Security.
Pat McManamon has been a journalist for more than 25 years. His experience has mainly been in sports, but the world of athletics requires knowledge of business and economics. He also can balance a checkbook and keep track of investments with Quicken quite adeptly. McManamon’s experience includes covering the NFL for ESPN, LeBron James for the Akron Beacon Journal and AOL Fanhouse, and the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes for the Palm Beach Post.
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- Rapacon, S. (2023, April 4) Top 25 Part-Time Jobs for Retirees. Retrieved from https://www.aarp.org/work/job-search/part-time-jobs-for-retirees/
- Samuels, C. (2023, June 23) Understanding the Shocking Facts About Senior Isolation. Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/senior-isolation-facts
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