More and more seniors are entering or re-entering the work force these days and for a variety of reasons ranging from financial need to just plain wanting to get out of the house. We’ve all seen the ads with octogenarians waiting on counter at the local fast food restaurant or greeting customers at Wal- Mart, but there are many other options out there for seniors that can allow them to supplement their income or just continue to contribute their knowledge and life-long wisdom to their communities.
Consulting. Depending upon your skills and prior occupation, many savvy seniors are finding that the rise of home computing has allowed them to keep a presence in the workforce even after retirement. Accounting, tax preparation, real estate sales, financial advising and business planning are all avenues where seniors can apply their lifelong experience to assisting individuals and small businesses on a consulting basis. For seniors who don’t need the additional income, many locales also have mentor programs whereby qualified former executives and other professionals can volunteer to assist small businesses and non-profits as expert advisors.
Volunteering. Whether it’s for your local church, soup kitchen, animal shelter or wildlife conservancy, seniors often have the time, the energy and the creativity to make a real difference in supporting these various community programs. Any not for profit or community organization that is not making adequate use of the tremendous assets of seniors in their community should seriously consider reaching out to them, and seniors should most definitely consider volunteering their efforts to assist with or create programs to support local philanthropic organizations.
Starting a Home Business. In just about any group of seniors, there’s enough combined work and life experience to establish any number of viable small businesses. From marketing baked goods to local restaurants and gourmet stores to creating any number of decorative items to turning a basement carpenter’s shop into a wooden toy factory, the limits are pretty much only imagination and stamina. While you might not want to put your life savings at risk, starting a home business on a small scale can often be managed without too much expense and can provide an outlet for skills and dreams which you might have foregone for your entire working life.
Mentoring and Teaching. Many other cultures revered their senior citizens for the accumulated experience and wisdom of their years, and Americans are slowly learning to do the same. If you’re an expert in a certain field or even if you’re just an acknowledged master at something like sewing or crocheting, you may find a pool of willing students in your community who would like nothing better than for you to pass on your skill and knowledge to them. Try contacting your local community center, adult education outlet or college or university department of continuing education with a proposal that they help you pass your lifelong expertise down to the next generation.
Caring for future generations. Depending upon health, level of mobility and stamina, seniors are often the go-to family members for child care – there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be paid for it. Though you may not be up to running a day care center for a large number of children, you may be surprised to find how much help you can be at an existing day care center, or simply providing a place to go for some neighborhood children for that difficult to schedule time period between after school and when their parents come home from work. If you’re considering any kind of child care, it’s important that you honestly assess your abilities and desires in this area – parents these days may be more specific or differ in their views on things like diet, activities, and punishment and you just want to make sure you’re an old dog that really wants to learn some new tricks.
Finally, remember there’s safety in numbers. Ventures which you might not want to undertake on your own may suddenly become doable if you include a friend, or a group of friends. Keeping actively involved in life, in your community and with other people is often the key to making a semi-retired retirement the perfect blend of energizing activity and deserved rest and relaxation.
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