We should be able to continue to work in satisfying roles
I had hoped I could help influence change in the years since leaving university and studying Sociology and Social Policy at Leeds University. Until recently I worked for Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees but was made redundant after 18 years working in Health Improvement for Older People, funded by Public Health. Now I am one of those older people!
There is much evidence that if you are female and poor before you retire you will be more so after retirement. However, as many older people are fit and healthy we should be encouraging more people to work for longer in satisfying roles.
I am deeply disappointed that I am not working, but the only roles that seem available are supermarket roles.
Why we should encourage older workers to stay employed
Not only would part time or full time continuation help improve the finances of some it will also keep older people fitter, involved and alert for much longer.
Many people, like me drew their social life from their work environment by meeting colleagues.
With lots of time and little money, not having a role adds to making people introverted , isolated and older than they should be, often demonstrating significant decline in just a few years after retirement.
Making sure older women are supported after retirement
In addition, many female workers did not have access to pensions and if like me they worked for a charity you may have been lucky to receive a small pension, but it isn’t enough to support the State Pension as wages have tended to trail behind significantly. The charity sector is dominated by female employees and volunteers! Long gone are the days when wealthy people worked for what was termed ‘pin’ money.
Ensuring new roles for older people are accessible
I understand working isn’t for everyone, nor is volunteering or other activities. However, if those that are able are helped and encouraged through informed employers, then those who are unable to contribute will have increased access to services and finances.
We must raise awareness of the benefits to society for older people and employers of working longer; possibly in other roles, offering free or low cost retraining amongst other things. There should be more accessible volunteering roles that are easy to apply for, many are now similar to applying for paid employment!
Older people, and especially women, should plan for their retirement making sure their earnings can achieve realistic pensions for retirement.
Have you been affected by any of these issues?
This blog represents one individual’s experience; personal circumstances differ – if you have been affected by any the issues in this blog and want some advice about your own situation please contact Independent Age’s Helpline on 0800 319 6789.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Independent Age