October 2017 - Older people

Young people starting out in the world of work is one thing, but what about those at the other end of the age scale?

Everything appeared to be so much simpler a generation or two ago. Men in particular sometimes had jobs for many years, some staying with the same organisation until they were 65 and then they retired.

But all that has changed now. It is widely felt that, from a work perspective, retirement age is arbitrary and for some it is meaningless.

Charles Handy in his book Second Curve argues that we should all continue to work, paid or unpaid, indefinitely. Research suggests that if we enjoy the work we do, then there are physical and mental health benefits that will enhance our longevity.

There are many older mums and dads working in Herefordshire businesses right across the county. We know of a septuagenarian female who does the wages for fifty people every week; there is an octogenarian male who comes in every day to open the post.

The important thing for older people, especially in family businesses, is for an open and honest discussion about exactly what the role is, and what it is not. The worst case scenario is where the older person, who may even be a 100% shareholder, just wanders in and out, dipping in here or there whenever or wherever they please.

For people that choose or who are asked to leave their main employment then there is a wide variety of work currently available; charities and community organisations are always looking for support too.

Mary Berry was born in 1935 and of course she is still presenting on television. Charles Handy, the eminent business guru is now 85; he still does his writing and consultancy for several days each week. Perhaps these are inspirational examples for us all.