This week is Queensland Seniors Week, an opportunity to celebrate the valuable contribution of older people. And it got me thinking…
Once we reach retirement age, many of us discover we’d like to keep working. And why shouldn’t we? We don’t suddenly lose our usefulness, creativity or ambition when the clock ticks over into our 67th year. Many of us still want to be connected and engaged in work that has meaning, and studies show working in a safe and accommodating environment is good for our mental and physical health and wellbeing.
But not all of us have the luxury to decide whether or not to keep working. Today, more than ever, we’re expected to work longer than we have before. We’re living longer, and stretching out retirement savings is becoming more and more difficult.
Conversely, for those of us that would like to keep working, there can be many barriers – age discrimination is a real thing. And sometimes the medical aspects of age (or rather of being human) derail our best intentions. For example, my father lost his hearing when I was a young girl and had to quit his high profile job with British rail to pursue a more solitary career. And I’ve had many clients say that hearing loss impacted their ability to communicate in the workplace, (but hearing aids helped extend or revive their career).
Research has found that ’34 percent of people with partial hearing loss and 32 percent of people with total hearing loss are not in the labour force, as compared to 21 percent of people with no hearing loss. [And] people with hearing loss [in the workplace] on average earn less money than those without hearing loss’.
In this situation, there are hearing tactics you can use to give yourself a better advantage. And I know I’m biased but hearing aids really do help!
When it comes to the workplace, my advice is: address any areas that could hold you back – health or otherwise, keep updating your skills, and keep an open attitude to change.