Happiness, work, aging and retirement

Happiness, work, aging and retirement

Although many of us look forward to the day we can retire and stop working many are not suggesting that this might not be so good for our health and happiness. Physical, mental and social activity boosts are health, happiness and wellbeing so staying at work longer may well be good for us!

If you want to find happiness at work, for longer, when you’re older…read the article below:


Last Update: 7:35 PM ET May 27, 2008

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — There are many reasons why more and more workers in America wish to continue on the job beyond the conventional retirement age of 65.

Many of them want — or absolutely need — the extra income. They want it not least because increasing numbers of people are living much longer than their forebears, and they require money to support themselves during those extra years.

Meanwhile, a lot of employers are starting to confront the rather unusual problem of shortages of workers. To fill that deficit, quite a few companies are proving to be adept at finding, hiring, training and developing older employees.

In his provocative new book, “The Longevity Revolution,” Dr Robert N.

Butler, a top expert in geriatrics, cites some examples:

“Wells Fargo has bused more than 100 retirees from the big retirement community of Sun City, Ariz., to its operations center in Tempe, where they helped process monthly statements. And McDonald’s created a successful McMaster’s program for hiring older workers because some franchises find they can’t attract enough younger ones.”

These hiring drives have the extra added attraction of helping people to live longer and better lives. Says Butler: “In studies at the National Institutes of Health, my colleagues and I found that people who had clearly specified goals and organization in their lives lived longer than those who did not. Whether work extends a person’s life requires further investigation, but its enhancement of the quality of life seems certain.”

He goes on to say that ‘studies show that cognitive health can be maintained by intellectual stimulation as well as by physical activity.” In other words, older people tend to live longer by playing bridge or chess or going to work at age 65 or so than just stumbling around the house.

If well-paying employment is not readily available, older workers also have plentiful opportunities for constructive volunteer work.

Butler cites some:

* The Peace Corps now encourages older recruits because often they can adapt to projects that need low-tech solutions, For example, older civil engineers may do a better job of building a bridge in an underdeveloped country than a young engineer who has been trained to work with advanced technology.

* Volunteers in Medicine is a medical clinic staffed almost entirely by unpaid physician retirees to provide free health care for the uninsured working poor and their families in Hilton Head, S.C.

* Experience Corps, now in more than two dozen cities, provides schools and youth organizations with older adults who help improve academic performance and aid the overall development of youngsters.

* ReServe was developed successfully in New York by the New York Times Company Foundation. It encourages retired older persons to serve again.

* The AARP has a large volunteer program that uses a database to match skills with needs.

* The Corporation for National Community Service is the umbrella agency that supports a number of volunteer programs, including he Foster Grandparents Program, which pays a minimum wage to low-income older men and women who work with physically and mentally disabled children for 20 hours a week.

* The National Senior Service Corps, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program , with over 600,000 volunteers, and the Senior Companion Program help frail older persons to live independently.

Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch.