Working through the golden years: jobs for seniors
May 10, 2007 5:26 PM   Subscribe

What paid work can older (65+) people do when they can no longer do the physical labor they did while young(er) and have not been trained in any other profession? Assume they are of average intelligence, but can no longer stand all day and are somewhat slow at learning technology.
posted by xo to Work & Money (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wal-Mart greeter
posted by MsMolly at 5:41 PM on May 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I see ads sometimes for school bus companies hiring retirees.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:43 PM on May 10, 2007

My mom became a tax-preparer at H&R Block after she retired. Loved it, and made decent money.
posted by MarshallPoe at 5:48 PM on May 10, 2007

Are you asking what these folks might like to do, or what they are capable of doing? Does it have to be full time work? We have, in the past, had people working at the library through RSVP [sortof AmeriCorps for seniors] doing book repair, deaccessioning and light cataloging and book preparation.

Some of the seniors I work with generally have jobs in retail, in day care, in libraries, in social work-ish professions, in non-profits doing phone bank/mailing/fundraising/office work. All of this requires some training but a lot of it can be on the job.

Other options include low-level security, night watchman positions, crossing guards or variants on the greeter theme (not just at Wal-Mart, but in libraries, museums and other public facilities). These jobs are not always paid, but they sometimes are.

Other jobs requiring a little more training include vocational rehab specialists, realtors (have to study and take a test, but clear after that), gardener/greenhouse work and specialty baking.
posted by jessamyn at 5:57 PM on May 10, 2007

Deliver and pick up auto parts for a dealer.
posted by JayRwv at 5:58 PM on May 10, 2007

Information desk representative at a museum or park.
posted by tuffbunny at 6:08 PM on May 10, 2007

Seconding security guard. (Whether they can actually stand up to face an intruder doesn't seem to matter)
posted by phrontist at 6:08 PM on May 10, 2007

Response by poster: Are you asking what these folks might like to do, or what they are capable of doing?

What they are capable of doing as well as able to get hired doing (generally speaking). This is for earning money as a supplement to social security because they were not able to save up anything for retirement.
posted by xo at 6:09 PM on May 10, 2007

Technology is not for everyone, but customer service jobs abound, not all of which require extensive use of computer systems. Jobs in counter sales, such as at auto parts stores, electrical distributors, plumbing supply houses, and similar establishments depend much more on steady attendance, and an ability to learn stock, or apply trade knowledge, than they do on using technology. Jobs which depend on steady work habits and regular attendance in manufacturing can also favor older workers.

Some kinds of route sales (vending machine service, bread, chips, candy) and some kinds of service sales (tools, shoes, protective gear) pay well, too, and require minimum physical exertion.
posted by paulsc at 6:20 PM on May 10, 2007

My grandfather has done secret shopper type things in the past; I have no idea how much he earned.
posted by MadamM at 7:13 PM on May 10, 2007

Huge, huge vote for hardware stores. There's a fair amount of standing required, but I'm sure something could be worked out, and age is an asset, especially for independent hardware stores, and if he's been using tools for much of his life. I know I trusted the oldtimers a lot more, and they definitely didn't let me down.
posted by devilsbrigade at 7:16 PM on May 10, 2007

Shuttle service drivers at the local car dealerships are always retirees in my neck of the woods.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:45 PM on May 10, 2007

I work at a racecourse (thoroughbreds) and there are several people who work there that are retired and work either to supplement their pension or just to get out and about. They work as everything from greeters, to guest relations desk, to ticket sellers. I find that my work will employ them in a second because they can have a good conversation with people and have some life experience, and are generally more reliable than 18 year olds.
posted by cholly at 9:01 PM on May 10, 2007

Depending on the kind of physical labour the senior did before, they may be able to work as a consultant. They might be able to help a small company with recruiting, job planning, sales, inventory management, facilities management, equipment operation or the like. It depends what they did as part of their job.
posted by acoutu at 9:42 PM on May 10, 2007

My mom is doing some sort of insurance sales thing and she seems to like it. (She was a hairstylist before, but her hands can no longer handle cutting hair all day.)
posted by litlnemo at 11:41 PM on May 10, 2007

House sitter, Pet sitter, possibly Dogwalker are a few.
Try a job search on under 'retired' or 'part time' for ideas.
posted by artdrectr at 11:45 AM on May 11, 2007

« Older Eating rotten shark?   |   Candy in a glass? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.