More retirees choose to un-retire, and re-enter the workforce – Herb Weiss

Published in RINewsToday on August 29, 2022

Retirees are rethinking their decision to leave their jobs to travel, to pursue leisure activities and hobbies, and to spend time with their family and friends. After the surge of retirements in the early months of the pandemic in late spring 2022, retirees are now returning to work in droves, as they see the value of their stocks and bonds decline and a soaring inflation rate impacting their purchasing power. 

A recent AARP web article, “5 Unexpected Reasons Retirees are Returning to Work,” cited data from the Indeed employment website, found that “of those who retired a year earlier, 1.7 million, or 3.3 percent, are employed again. The majority of these so-called un-retirees are working part time.​”

Researchers are now following, and taking a closer look, at this employment trend.  

According to website-based Resume Builder, a recently released survey revealed that one in five retirees say they are likely to return to work this year. Sixty nine percent of these respondents say they are un-retiring in order to combat rising costs of living. While nearly 60 percent were still concerned about going back to work during the ongoing pandemic, they say they may go back to work. 

This survey was conducted online by the survey platform Pollfish, on March 29, 2022. In total, 800 participants in the U.S. were surveyed. All participants had to pass through demographic filters to ensure they were currently over the age of 54 and retired.

Continuing to Work in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Resume Builder’s survey findings found that 12 percent of the respondents stated that they were somewhat likely to un-retire this year, while an additional 8 percent say they are very likely. When asked where exactly they plan to go back to work, 19 percent said they will go back to work for their previous employer, 23 percent will stay in the same industry but work for a new employer, while the largest group, at 58 percent, will go to a different industry.

“There is no longer a retirement age and people want to be engaged longer,” stated career consultant Stacie Haller in a statement released on May 2, 2022, announcing the survey’s results.  “Others are returning to the workplace for financial reasons, and in this new work world, there are now more options for them to return with the advent of remote work [and] more part-time work for older workers who cannot commit to a full work week,” she says.

The researchers say that many un-retirees want to take advantage of the flexibility of remote work, given the shifts in being based in a commercial building to remote work over the last 2 years. Thirty one percent of the respondents say they would prefer a remote position but will work in person if need be.

“Remote work is a priority of older workers returning to the workforce and a very welcome way to continue working past the age where they may have previously felt their only option was retirement,” said Haller. “Many no longer want the heavy travel schedule they may have had to endure, especially now that work/life balance is such a big part of workplace conversations.”

“So many candidates have shared with me that they want more of a life, but still want to work and contribute,” she added. “Remote work is important for those with aging physical challenges who can now continue to work and be productive from home. Remote work is also more financially viable for older workers as the cost of commuting has climbed and remote work becomes a huge way to save on costs,” she said.

The survey found that over 69 percent of the respondents cited rising costs and supply chain issues as a motivation for making a decision to reenter the workforce. The most common answer given by the retiree respondent as to why, as a retiree, they were considering un-retiring, eighty-three percent of the respondents expressed concern about their financial situation. Specifically, 44 percent of this group say they are somewhat concerned about the state of their finances, while 39 percent are highly concerned.

Additionally, the survey findings revealed that 39 percent say their daily expenses have increased somewhat over the past three months, while another 39 percent say their expenses have increased greatly. Nineteen percent expressed concern their retirement savings won’t cover their costs of living.

The researchers also found that six-in-ten of the survey’s respondents say they are still concerned about the pandemic. But the majority say they are likely to unretire this year and are open to in-person work. Specifically, 35 percent stated they are still somewhat concerned about the pandemic, while 24 percent noted they were highly concerned. 

Employers Encourages to Return to Workforce 

In addition to these safety concerns of returning to the office during this ongoing pandemic, 44 percent stated they are somewhat worried about age bias affecting their job prospects, while 28 percent were highly worried. But Haller says that older workers need not worry, stressing that today’s labor shortage is an excellent time for retirees to seek employment.  

“The current war for talent has encouraged older workers to return as they are more welcomed than in the past and can find work to fit their needs and alleviate some or all of their financial struggles,” says Haller. 

“Recruiters are reaching out to this cohort more than before on the hunt for talent. Those who have talents and skills in areas where they have not previously worked can have the opportunity to use those skills now as employers can see their years of work experience to speak to their candidacy,” adds Haller. 

With the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic, the unretirement trend has become the new normal as retirees continue to enter the nation’s workforce in greater numbers. The returning retirees bring their technical skills, knowledge and work experience into a job market hit by a shortage of qualified. workers. Hiring the returning retirees allows a company to access their life-long skill set and experiences with younger workers also benefiting from being able to learn from these individuals. A stronger worker culture is created by bringing back older workers building ties between young and old employees. Retirees returning to work also benefit from a job market where employees receive increased wages and enhanced benefits. They also can continue to keep their minds more active at work reducing the incidents of being afflicted by Alzheimer’s and dementias. 

As 2023 approaches, our image of retirement must change. With the growing number of unretired returning to their jobs, images of retirement won’t be of senior sitting on rocking chair on the porch, gardening, traveling, or fixing up the house.  It will be tied to being employed. 

Time to be educated on senior issues with primary just weeks away

Published in RINewsToday on August 22, 2022

On Aug. 17, just twenty-eight days before Rhode Island’s Sept. 13th Primary Election, at the Warwick-based Pilgrim Senior Center, Gov. Dan McKee joined Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, other elected leaders and advocates to highlight recently passed legislative and budget initiatives that supported  Rhode Island’s senior population. The Governor ceremonially signed legislation passed this legislative session. 

Among those investments is $4 million in the FY 23 state budget to increase the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit available to qualifying seniors and adults with disabilities, raising the maximum credit received to $600 and increasing the income threshold for eligibility to $ 35,000.  This property tax credit program provides relief to eligible seniors and adults with disabilities who own or rent their homes. The budget also increases the amount of pension income that is exempt from state taxation for all retirees from the first $15,000 to the first $20,000.

Whether it’s tax relief, housing, food security, or utilities, our Administration is looking at these issues through the lens of ensuring our seniors are able to not just live in the Ocean State, but that they are also able to thrive here,” stated the McKee at the event, a continuation of his #RIMomentum Tour. “I am proud to deliver a budget and sign several pieces of legislation that support and protect our seniors, and I thank the sponsors and advocates who helped see them across the finish line,” he said.

“Both as chair of the Long Term Care Coordinating Council, and as a granddaughter whose family cares for a senior, I am dedicated to ensuring that every Rhode Islander has the support they need to live full, rich, and long lives. The budget we have passed this year, along with the bills signed today, will significantly improve on our seniors’ quality of life,” said Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos. “We are going to continue working to provide high-quality services to our neighbors of every age.”

With his ceremonially pen, the Governor also signed these pieces of legislation:

H7133B (Reps, Joseph M. McNamara) and S2207A (Sen. Joshua Miller): This legislation authorizes the creation and implementation of a pharmaceutical redistribution program by the Department of Health and the Board of Pharmacy to begin on Jan. 1, 2023.

H7246 (Representative Jason Knight) and S2228 (Senator Cynthia A. Coyne): This legislation lowers the age at which a victim can be considered an elder under the state’s elder financial exploitation laws.

H 7068 (Representative Kathleen A. Fogarty) and S2317   (Senator V. Susan Sosnowski): This legislation makes it easier for senior citizens to apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

Aging Advocates Gear Up for Next Legislative Session

McKee’s ceremonial signing of legislation was a visible sign to aging advocates that state officials are recognizing that these are wise investments that foster healthy lives and economic security for our growing older population, says Maureen Maigret, Chair of the Aging in Community Subcommittee of the Long Term Care Coordinating Council and serves on the Board of Directors for the Senior Agenda Coalition and the Village Common of RI. “The budget builds on Subcommittee promoted legislation sponsored by Rep. Deb Ruggiero and Sen. Cynthis Coyne to expand the Property Tax Relief law and last year’s addition of close to $1Million in Governor McKee’s budget to increase income eligibility for the Office of Healthy Aging ‘At Home Cost Share’ program and to include persons under age 65 with Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” she said. 

According to Maigret, several items from the Sub-committee’s Strategic Plan that did not make it this year are the expansion of the Medicare Savings Program to help lower-income adults pay for Medicare Part B’s hefty premiums and extending the state Paid Family Leave law beyond six weeks which will help families needing to take time out of work to care for both older relatives and children needing medical/nursing care. “These are just some of the items we will be advocating for in 2023,” she said.

Maigret notes that September’s Primary Election is less than a month away. “New laws make it easier to vote.  You can apply online for a mail ballot for the Primary which must be sent in by August 23rd, she says. 

Becoming an Educated Voter on Senior Issues

According to Ballotpedia, the website encyclopedia of American politics, all 435 voting seats in the House of Representatives and 34 Senate Seats will be up for grabs on the midterm elections scheduled for Nov. 8, 2022 . The seats of five of the six non-voting members of the House are also up for election as well. 

Ballotpedia notes, state elective offices up for election in 2022 include 36 gubernatorial seats, 30 lieutenant gubernatorial seats, 30 attorney general seats, and 27 secretary of state seats. Including down-ballot races, there are 309 state executive offices up for election across 44 states in 2022, says Ballotpedia.

Also, 88 of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will also hold regularly scheduled elections, representing 6,278 of the nation’s 7,283 legislative seats, adds Ballotpedia.

The Washington, DC-based AARP gears up its efforts, through its “Our Voices Decide” campaign, to ensure that America’s seniors can continue to maximize their influence on this year’s midterm elections (at both the state and national levels) like they have for previous elections. 

According to AARP Rhode Island, AARP in every state has a voter engagement page that provides information on when, how and where to vote and, in many states, recent changes in voting laws. Ours is at www.aarp.org/RIVotes. This webpage is updated frequently. 

Many states also post video voter guides, in which candidates are asked questions. In Rhode Island – and in every state — candidates were strictly limited to 60 seconds or less to respond. Texts of the questions and answers on video are posted online. The candidate responses appear in alphabetical order, just as they would appear on the ballot, says AARP Rhode Island.

AARP has provided voting information for many years. AARP Rhode Island featured videos of candidates for Governor in 2020. We chose to feature candidates in three contested 2022 Primary races – Governor, 2nd Congressional District and Providence Mayor, says AARP Rhode Island.

“Voting gives you the power to decide what our future looks like,” AARP Rhode Island State Director Catherine said. “But you have to be in the know to vote. AARP Rhode Island sees the importance of collecting the most up-to-date election information, including key dates and deadlines, to make sure that the voices of voters 50+ are heard. We are doing everything we can to make sure older Rhode Islanders are prepared to vote and know the safe and secure voting options included in the new, AARP Rhode Island-backed Let RI Vote Act. Our Video Voter Guide takes this a step further and with an important focus, giving older voters clear, concise answers on issues that impact their lives. Debates and candidate forums seldom focus on these questions and that is why AARP steps in to give voters a non-partisan, trusted resource to better understand where candidates stand before they cast their votes,” she says.

“In Rhode Island and across the country, the data clearly shows that 50+ voters will be the deciders in the 2022 elections,” said Taylor. “We are working with dozens of advocacy volunteers who are fighting for voters 50+ to make their voices heard on the issues that matter – especially in Rhode Island where we are in the midst of a housing crisis, nursing homes are in jeopardy, the cost of long-term care is skyrocketing and where people want leaders who are committed to making local communities more livable,” she adds.

“At the federal level, older voters want to know candidates’ positions on protecting and strengthening the Social Security benefits Americans have paid into and earned through years of hard work, protecting and improving Medicare benefits, lowering prescription drug prices, and supporting family caregivers who risk their careers and financial futures to care for parents, spouses, and other loved ones,” Taylor said.

Other Resources…

On August 3 the Senior Agenda Coalition of RI co-hosted a Governor’s Candidates Forum hosted by 17 organizations (www.senioragendari.org/coalition). To learn how the candidates from both parties responded to seven questions about aging policy and issues. Go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=okQ5FguKMao

Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative Program Grant Now Recruiting Rhode Island Participants

Published in RINewsToday on August 15, 2022

Last January, CareLink, a nonprofit network of post-acute and community-based providers, received a grant from the Administration for Community Living, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. After the required planning period, and identifying community resources and referral organizations, and training staff, CareLink is now able to recruit program participants. Carelink, an East Providence-based healthcare organization, received funding for a three-year grant that offers innovative therapeutic services and programs. In addition, it connects participants with resources and provides caregiver education.  

CareLink’s services and programs will support older people with ADRD who live in the community alone or with a care partner, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are at greater risk for developing dementia, and persons living in ethnically and culturally diverse communities with limited access to medical care due to economic, language, or other barriers. 

The $904,133 Alzheimer’s Disease Program Initiative (ADPI) grant enables the nonprofit to better support the 24,000 Rhode Islanders with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD). These services are even more critical as this number is projected to double by 2040. In addition to individuals with ADRDs, the grant targets services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disorders and those living at home alone with a diagnosis of cognitive impairment. 

Grant funds will be used to deliver two nationally recognized, non-pharmacological, evidence-based treatment programs – Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) and Skills2Care®. These programs are provided to individuals living with ADRD, and when appropriate to their caregivers, at no cost. Specially trained CareLink occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists who have experience working with individuals with Dementia and their caregivers provide these interventions.   

Two Nationally Recognized Therapeutic Interventions to be Offered

CST addresses memory, thinking skills, and quality of life thru 14-biweekly sessions of structured 45-minute therapy sessions, featuring different topics.  Each session includes a warm-up activity, a song, and a “reality orientation board” that details the date, time, place, and weather.  Sessions include a variety of activities including the discussion of current news, listening and singing to music, playing word games, and participating in activities such as baking. This program can be provided using both individual and group sessions meant to foster social engagement and community. Both Speech-Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists provide this beneficial program.

Skills2Care® provides training for the individual and their caregiver on managing challenging behaviors. This program, delivered by a trained Occupational Therapist, during five ninety-minute home visits, includes techniques to reduce challenging behaviors, promote functioning, improve caregiver communication, home environment safety, and tips focused on caregiver self-care, including problem solving and teaching stress management techniques. 

“Our focus is on providing innovative treatment for individuals with dementia and their caregivers,” explains Dr. Chris Gadbois, chief executive officer of CareLink, Inc. “We’re integrating interventions and supports for patients and caregivers within the home environment, building upon the recommendations of the individual’s medical professional and resources within the community.” 

“The strong relationships CareLink has with a wide array of community partners will enable this program to reach Rhode Islanders from different backgrounds across the state. We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic support of the community for this effort to improve the lives of patients and their caregivers,” says Gadbois. 

“The Rhode Island Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Council congratulates CareLinkRI on securing this competitive funding for these important services,” said Council Chair Nancy Sutton, MS, RD.

“A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or a related dementia is a devastating diagnosis for an individual, their family, and their loved ones. People need to talk to their healthcare provider about any concerns of memory loss, regardless of their age. We know that an early diagnosis allows patients and caregivers to connect with services and resources right away—before they experience a crisis.”

“Dementia care is complex and requires a full team to assist patients and their families navigate the healthcare system and community resources. This funding helps to support and expand a much-needed program where providers can refer patients and caregivers as soon as they receive a diagnosis.”

Christine Gadbois, representing CareLinkRI, is an active member of the Rhode Island Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Council, and has informed the Council on this newly funded initiative. Other Council members include the Rhode Island Department of Health, Office of Healthy Aging, Butler Hospital, and Rhode Island Hospital’s memory clinics, and the Alzheimer’s Association – Rhode Island Chapter, and they are all collaborating with CareLinkRI to ensure easy access.

“Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias take such a toll on our communities, and support services like those provided through CareLink and its partners are essential for thousands of constituents and their families,” states Senator Louis DiPalma (D-District 12). “I’m extremely grateful for this award to CareLink which will make an enormous difference in the lives of Rhode Islanders in the years to come.” 

While CareLink is the grant recipient and manager, they have partnered with numerous local agencies, including The Cove Center, Avatar, Trudeau Center, Accesspoint RI, and Meals on Wheels. CareLink is also reaching out to local medical providers, including specialty clinics such as RI Mood and Memory. “We know it is critical to engage community partners to successfully reach a diverse group of individuals who will benefit from these services across the state,” says Robyn Earley, Chief Growth Officer of CareLink. 

“We know these programs are impactful and we are working to integrate these services into the larger landscape of resources for persons with dementia and related disorders, adds Earley. 

Looking for Participants

On May 26, 2022, Earley reports that CareLink began its recruitment efforts for study participants in the community through general outreach. “We are now working on outreach to Rhode Island medical providers, senior centers, intellectual and developmental disability service organizations, senior housing, and other community agencies that serve individuals with cognitive impairments. We are targeting individuals at home through outreach/partnership with MOW, Hope Health, etc.” she says, noting that a plan is in place to outreach to Resident Services Coordinators at senior high-rises to reach the live-alone population.

“The investment in these therapeutic tools has a significant impact on the quality of life and independence of those with dementia,” she says. These interventions enable individuals with cognitive impairments such as ADRD to live longer and more successfully in the community. 

Ultimately, CareLink intends to provide services to over 300 people by the end of grant, three years from now.  

“We have already learned so much from the first month of service and I anticipate continued growth and learning throughout,” says Earley.

For details about this study or for referrals, please contact CareLink at ADPLdementia@carelink.org.  Or call 401 490-7610, Ext. 116.  

To learn more about CareLink, go to www.carelinkri.org/

Herb Weiss, LRI’12, a Pawtucket writer covering aging, health care and medical issues. To purchase his books, Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly, and a sequel, go to herbweiss.com.