At one point in the 2008 Oscar-nominated film “Frost/Nixon,” former President Richard Nixon, played by Frank Langella, says, “Retired people are the most bored people in the world.” While some retirees might scoff at that remark, others no doubt agree there’s an element of truth to it.
Perhaps boredom is one reason many seniors continue to work past retirement age. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), 47 percent of male seniors and 34 percent of female seniors were employed in 2007. That those figures were from 2007 is significant, as it indicates this was before the economic downturn of 2008-09, a consequence of which was more seniors returning to the workforce.
For many seniors, though, working isn’t simply a means to earn money. In fact, seniors who continued working past the age of 70 earned an average of just $20,000 in 2007. Seniors also tend to work to have something to do. For seniors looking to do just that, there are a host of employment or even volunteer opportunities that can help seniors stay busy and possibly put a little extra money in their pockets.
• Local park service. Many local park services hire seniors to help keep the parks clean. These are often seasonal opportunities, making them ideal for seniors who live in different cities depending on the seasons.
• Golf course. Golf courses are other seasonal businesses, at least in much of the country, that also boast lots of part-time opportunities for seniors. For example, golf courses need rangers, who ensure all golfers play by the rules and respect the course, and even maintenance staff, who do everything from cut the grass to maintaining gardens. These can also pull double duty, providing seniors with daily exercise to help them stay healthy.
• Volunteer. Many programs that help indigent citizens get by every day welcome seniors as volunteers. Meal delivery services and other programs that cater to the sick are often in need of a helping hand.
• School systems. Local school districts also have volunteer opportunities that can be ideal for seniors. Positions such as crossing guard or even helping out with the local athletic teams don’t require much of a commitment and can be rewarding and fun for seniors.
• Consultant work. Seniors who miss the thrill of business don’t have to give it up completely simply because they’re retired. Many seniors earn a handsome amount of money by working as consultants, using their vast experience to help the next generation. What’s more, consultants often work on their own schedule, an ideal situation for seniors with a passion for business but an equal passion for the positives of retirement.
• Library. Libraries might not be as popular as they once were, but many are still going strong, and some even use volunteers and part-time employees to keep their operations running smoothly. Many libraries prefer hiring seniors thanks to their reliability and good attitude.
Seniors looking to work or volunteer should consider working at the local library.