Whether it’s to stay healthy and active or to earn needed extra income, more seniors are delaying full retirement than at any time since the 1950s. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 25 percent of Americans age 65 or older are either working or seeking employment. This drastic change in workplace participation stems from multiple causes, and it is likely to have a profound impact on society as a whole.
A New Era of Retirement
After the Social Security Act was passed in 1935, the length of the average American work life dropped steadily throughout the 20th century. In 1949, nearly 50 percent of men aged 65 and older held full time jobs. By 1993, the number of men working past 65 had dropped to around 15 percent. By the end of the century, retiring at 65 had become the accepted norm.
Life expectancies, however, changed dramatically during the 20th century as well. Few Americans born in 1900 lived past the age of 50. The average life expectancy in the United States is now 79.8 years, according to a 2014 World Health Organization report. Longer life spans not only make it challenging to save enough money to retire comfortably at age 65 but make people less likely to want to stop working so early in life as well.
A Second Act
Although many seniors who delay retirement continue to work in the same career, the elderly are also among the most entrepreneurial Americans. Around 25 percent of seniors age 65 and older run their own businesses, compared to 10 percent of the overall workforce.
While many seniors cite economics as their reason for working, around 54 percent say that they do it because they enjoy it. As a Columbus senior care provider, we agree with the experts – working seniors tend to be healthier, happier and less dependent on others. Whether putting in a shift at a part time job, working from home or volunteering for a non-profit organization, staying active benefits seniors and their communities.
Interested in learning more about senior living? Check out our senior home care blog for more information or reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are Columbus’ trusted in-home care provider, helping countless seniors age in place in the comfort and familiarity of home! Call us at 614-481-8888 for a free in-home consultation.