Retirement doesn’t have to mean padding around the house doing odd jobs just to fill your days. Think of leaving the job force as an opportunity rather than a requirement of the workplace due to your age. It’s a chance to try your hand at something new. After all those lifelong skills you learned on the job are still quite valuable. And with a little creative thinking you would be surprised how you could re-cycle them.
For instance something like filing skills used in an office might be just the thing the historical society needs to help them organize genealogical files for researchers. And while you may get senior discounts at your local diner or movie theatre, don’t discount the wonderful opportunities to help other seniors at your local nursing home. They often hire people to organize activities and entertainment with schools, civic clubs and even the humane society, to bring in pets for the residents. Teachers who retire can still tutor from their homes, especially if they have specialized training in music, art, or reading and math. Delivery drivers might opt for a part time bus driving position with the school or a day care center.
But the most rewarding job of all for seniors is in the form of service to the handicap. Beginning with job coaches who transport and work side by side with their charge until they have learned all the required duties. People who will are in great demand in nearly all fifty states. Another exceptional group of service providers are house parents for group homes.
Group home residents require minimal supervision and activity support. Most states provide all the training and certification needed to do this job and may even pay while training through government grants, but all you really need to succeed is an open heart, patience and good judgments. House parents have the option of week on weekends off or some other variation of schedule sharing with other house parents. They are usually quite flexible with their workers.
If full time work with disability seems too much you might apply to be a respite care aid, working alongside a Registered Nurse to give a weary family a little time off from all the tedious care that goes into the home care for their seriously handicapped child. As an aid you will only do the general things like change diapers or read books and play games, maybe take a walk with them in their wheel chairs. All the medical treatment is done by the nurse.
If you have time to take some specialized training you could work with the Autism Project. A staggering 1 in 110 children are born with Autism each year. Autism is life defining dependent on the proper reinforcement. After two weeks of paid training, with the Autism Project, you become a certified line therapist, who works with a child day to day to improve their symbolic play skills, communications and conceptual thinking.
If the idea of training for a new job seems scary bear in mind that brain cells that are refreshed and taught new things live longer. Moreover, while not to disparage the importance of training, almost all of the above said training is less difficult to tackle than reading and understanding a tech toy’s liability agreement.
When we are young we value the future for what it may bring us but as we age we realize the real future is behind us and our best efforts to that future is to model caring, meaningful service wherever we can.