Retirement is a time to relax, pursue hobbies, and enjoy life. Most people would not picture a part time job in their ideal retirement concept. However, working during your retirement has a number of benefits and can be a great way to spend your time. Though you may think you are tired of working and can’t wait to sit around the house, you may want to consider looking at a part-time career to see you through your golden years. Here are a few good reasons why.
Social Isolation Poses a Real Risk to Seniors
One of the biggest risks to the mental health of seniors is social isolation. Post-retirement life can seem like a breeze, but many seniors find that work was their sole source of social interaction. When work ends, they become secluded, unsure how to meet new friends and spend their newfound freedom.
A part-time career allows you to meet new people, find friends in coworkers, and get out of the house with regularity. Sure, a hobby club or educational course can have a similar effect, but work schedules tend to be more rigid with less flexibility to duck out on your down days. This can guarantee social interaction on a higher level than a crafting club.
Work is Mental Exercise
Seniors who exercise their brains with problem-solving activities are more easily able to fend off common age-related diseases such as dementia. A career in nearly any field will force the brain to keep active and social, strengthening your mental health and reducing your risk of mental disorders. If your family has a history of these types of mental illness, you may want to seriously consider a post-retirement career, even if it only means working a few hours a week.
Extra Money Never Hurts
Most places will allow seniors to work a certain number of hours while still receiving social security benefits. This means that you can make your next vacation or holiday season particularly extravagant using your additional salary. This extra money can also be hugely helpful in the event of unexpected medical bills or for the day when you can physically no longer work. You may even be able to afford an extra snazzy retirement facility with every amenity you can imagine.
Devote Time to a Cause You Care About
Your post-retirement career does not have to be for-profit. If there is a cause you care passionately about, now is the perfect time to leap into the wide world of volunteering. With your open schedule, you can become a valued member of your favorite cause while reaping the mental and social benefits of a career. Even if you only volunteer a few hours a week, you will be able to see the positive impact working makes on your life.
Though a post-retirement career seems like a contradictory phrase, working through your golden years can be hugely enjoyable and beneficial. Whether you opt to re-enter a full-time career, a part-time position, or a volunteering, you will find yourself both mentally and physically healthier. So, next time you see a “now hiring” sign in the window of your favorite shop, fill out an application. It certainly can’t hurt.
-By Jim Vogel
Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, created ElderAction.org after they began caring for their ailing parents. Through that rewarding and sometimes difficult process they’ve learned a lot about senior care and specifically the need for more effective senior mental health and support.
"For a Healthy Retirement, Keep Working," New York Times.
"Mature Workers Facts," National Council on Aging
"Report on the Social Isolation of Seniors," Government of Canada.
"Senior Corps," Corporation for National and Community Service.