WASHINGTON, DC, Mar 17 — It’s a given that the state of the U.S. economy over the past several years has caused many elders in our population to go back to work or, for those who are already in the workplace, to keep their jobs as long as they can. The inflationary cycle triggered by the policies of the Biden administration didn’t make it easy for older workers to make ends meet. The cost of living has increased considerably over the past two years. But, according to a survey conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, “almost half of Baby Boomer workers (49 percent) expect to or already are working past age 70 or do not plan to retire. Their reasons for doing so are almost as likely to be healthy aging-related (78 percent) as financial-related (82 percent).”
The first boomers, those of us born between 1946 and 1964, celebrated our 65th birthdays in 2011 but many of them opted to keep working. The online employment agency, Indeed, says these aging workers are in demand. For one thing, “Baby boomers often aim to work as long as it takes to reach their goals and try to differentiate themselves by attaining the promotion, raise or acknowledgment they want…This generation has experienced the benefits of hard work and dedication, which is something they expect from their employer.”
What makes senior citizens particularly valued members of the American workforce? Reliability, maturity and professionalism. The senior services organization, Vantage Aging, says that this results “in a strong work ethic. With an older worker, you often find yourself with someone who works hard to get the job done right.
It is estimated that the aging of the U.S. will continue for another four decades during which the numbers of the 65-year-old population will increase by more than 37 million, increasing from 46 million today to more than 98 million in 2060. The American Psychological Association reports that, going forward, “older adults will live longer than ever before: One out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90. This demographic shift has moved the focus of researchers, health care providers and policymakers from how to extend the lifespan to ways to improve the quality of our later years. Staying healthy, active and productive are admirable goals for our nation’s older adults. However, society’s view of ‘old age’ has not always kept up with the reality of being old in America. Many current beliefs about aging were based on information that is no longer valid given recent scientific advances.”
The aging process is not kind to the elderly. Many of us will have memory issues, we might find some complex chores are harder than they used to be and we might have difficulty staying focused. But the National Institute on Aging [NIA] tells us that “aging may also bring positive cognitive changes. For example, many studies have shown that older adults have more extensive vocabularies and greater knowledge of the depth of meaning of words than younger adults.” However, the NIA also points out that “despite the changes in cognition that may come with age, older adults can still do many of the things they have enjoyed their whole lives. Research shows that older adults can still: learn new skills, form new memories and Improve vocabulary and language skills.”
John Grimaldi served on the first non-partisan communications department in the New York State Assembly and is a founding member of the Board of Directors of Priva Technologies, Inc. He has served for more than thirty years as a Trustee of Daytop Village Foundation, which oversees a worldwide drug rehabilitation network.