We continue our series with a look at older workers. Some found themselves suddenly out of a job due to recession. Now, half a decade later, we’re seeing how they’ve adjusted - and the many paths they’ve taken, by choice or necessity.
Kelly Clark – state director of AARP-New Hampshire
Dennis Delay – economist for the NH Center for Public Policy Studies; also New Hampshire forecast manager for the New England Economic Partnership
People living with dementia can appear to live in their own world, a complicated, non-linear inner world not so easily communicated to, or understood by others. The London-based writer Susanna Howard is attempting to give people with dementia a voice by visiting with them and recording their words as poetry.
Susanna is artistic director of Living Words, an arts and literature program helping people with dementia feel understood and heard even when communication seems lost.
It’s often a hidden problem: The aged living alone or isolate from the community, where they fall prey to mistreatment by caregivers or family members. The abuse can be physical, emotional or involve financial exploitation. Now, senior advocates are pushing to raise awareness about these problems and emphasize the responsibility to report them.
There are many ways to ease the pangs of loneliness, illness, and old age –among them, spending time with a friendly animal companion. More than ten thousand animals are currently registered as care workers in the United States - only fourteen of them however, are llamas. I recently spoke with llama trainer Niki Kuklenski of J.N.K. Llamas about how this unusual animal is playing a role in human therapy.
According to a 2010 AARP survey, 85% of men and 61% of women over fifty said sex is important to their quality of life. This number, coupled with increasing rates of sexually transmitted diseases among adults over fifty, clashes with our societal taboo surrounding the elderly libido. Jessica Gentile wrote about that conflict, and the value of embracing sexuality at all ages for an Atlantic piece called “The 87 Year Old Virgin.”
At 75, many people imagine they'll be retired and spending their time playing cards or on a golf course. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of working seniors is actually on the rise. In fact, it's more than doubled since 1990.
Ella Washington decided to go back to work at 83. Today, she's a receptionist in training at a senior living home outside Washington, D.C. She's hoping it will be a stepping stone to a real job, which she's been looking for since 2005.