Isn’t it wonderful that we now have about four generations working together in the current national workforce? About 6.4% of Americans 75 or older, slightly more than 1 million were working last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Also, almost 3.4% of Americans 80 or older, are still in the workforce whether paid or on volunteer status. What keeps these folks working with the ‘young on the inside’ view point?
Our work with folks like this reveal:
- Getting past 75 took a considerable amount of stress management. When these folks found they were not coping well with life’s situations, they were proactive in seeking professional help.
- They have a sense of curiosity, about many things. They use libraries, available community services, national support units, volunteer organizations, and now, Internet groups to keep them informed of all technological and medical advancements.
- When illness occurs, they recruited competent help. They have demonstrated that they will learn how to self administrator medications and injections so that they maintain their independence. Many had a true awareness of how to maintain their health and physical vigor.
- They maintain a social network that spans more than their birth generation; and outside of direct family members. This keeps them involved in current human issues, social needs, and what could be future requirements such as, global warming. Many have said they use strengths from the past to help solve neighborhood dilemmas, much less their own problems.
- Most importantly, they are not afraid of outside scrutiny. They are unafraid to take the lead on a public project just because they have some arthritis. The older worker may have a different style of working, but brings a wealth of experience and reasoning to any effort.
If you think you’ve lost that ‘young inside feeling’, ask yourself:
- What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing now in taking the next step of adventure, lack of courage, too much peer conformity, fear of public rejection, etc.? Why do you believe this is?
- How will you discard old personal assessments that you can’t join SOAR or MicroMentor to help with disadvantaged business owners? Or if human rights seems more important to you now, how can you free your independent energy to read to those that are visually impaired? Whose permission do you need to feel comfortable?
- How much importance are you putting on your dress, the color of your hair, or even some Parkinson’s tremors, that keep you from making unique contributions in the community?
- How will you start the conversation with a spouse or family member that this next work position or volunteer opening is vitally important to your self- worth?
- Even if you impact only one person, would this be enough for you to take risk of trying volunteering?