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Working as a senior: What opportunities are there?

For many, reaching retirement age means saying goodbye to the 9-5 workday routine. As exciting as reaching this point in life is, though, closing the book on a career can be bittersweet. Plus, no longer having any professional obligations means suddenly having lots of extra time to fill.

Thankfully, many seniors are happy to find they'll be kept busy with plenty to do at a retirement community, many of which host daily events or field trips to external attractions. For some seniors, though, there may still be a feeling of restlessness (especially among those who've recently retired) who are not accustom to finding ways to fill an entire day, whether they miss their old job or not.

That's why, for many, the start of retirement does not always mean the end of working life. Some seniors enter back into the labor market for personal reasons, others for financial. Whatever the motivation may be, it's important to think the decision over, and consider the work opportunities seniors have — even during retirement!

Full-time job

As AARP put it, Americans past retirement age and into their 70s and 80s are the "hottest demographic in the labor market." A number of factors have led to this trend, an aging population and financial need among them. Workers that delay taking Social Security at the official retirement age also stand to gain more later in life. In any case, seniors are reentering and staying in the workforce at higher rates, with many in full-time positions or looking for one. Some have jobs that are easier to keep into retirement age, like teacher or professor, but blue collar jobs and positions in manual labor become prohibitive.

When looking at potential full-time employment, AARP recommended jobs like tax preparer, retail worker, salesperson, accountant and handyperson. It's important to find a job that aligns with your skills, interests and goals. For instance, big-box home improvement stores are usually active hirers, especially during seasonal spikes. If you enjoy gardening or worked in horticulture previously, applying for a job in the outdoor care and living department of a local store may be a good idea.

Part-time job

The rise of the gig economy has provided seniors with new part-time opportunities that weren't as easy to come by in years past. At the front of the pack are Uber and Lyft, which give seniors who can drive and have insurance the ability to turn their cars into earning machines. If you can use extra cash and have the time, you can sign up through the app and begin driving whenever your schedule allows. While driving isn't always an option for seniors, other online marketplaces like TaskRabbit offer helpful job-searching grounds for seniors with particular skills, like putting together furniture.

There are also more formal part-time jobs that seniors may want to look into. Becoming a librarian at a local branch is one such idea. The position is minimally intensive and affords seniors a chance to get out and give back to the community. Also, if you're a book lover, what better place to spend air-conditioned summers?

Business owner

Need income but don't want to answer to a boss not as seasoned as you are? Then think about opening up your own business! Just as the internet opened new doors for seniors regarding part-time jobs, so too has it enabled them to build businesses out of nothing but an online connection and some passion. While going the brick-and-mortar route is always an option, it requires a lot of capital investment, like real estate and overhead. But if you enjoy knitting and happen to be prolific and creative, you can open your own shop on Etsy and sell directly to consumers through the internet. While you'll be responsible for getting the product to the buyer, online marketplaces allow you to convert crafts to cash with little hassle.

Volunteer

When money isn't the issue, sometimes it's not the job a senior is after, but the responsibility. Volunteering can help fill that need, and doubly benefit as a great opportunity to do good for others. There are numerous ways to volunteer, whether there's a cause you hold near and dear (like assisting disadvantaged families or children), or a civic duty like an election that you want to help with. Whatever the impetus, volunteering can provide personal meaning and self-enrichment that are vital to life in retirement.

Have a question about retirement communities and the options available to keep you busy? Call or email us today for more information.