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HEALTH MIND & BODY
Seniors in the workplace
Byline info is not available
Thursday, November 29, 2012 1:00 PM
Tom Wingham stocks the meat section of Kroger in Madison. Wingham has worked for Kroger for a combined 56 years. “Yeah, I retired for a year and a half,” Wingham said. “But I came back 13 years ago. I got bored and — I’m not going to lie — the pay is nice too.” (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
Virgie Dowell, right, and Melissa Joslin joke around while checking in books at the Jefferson County Public Library Madison Branch. Dowell said she started at the library in 2000, right after her retirement from Southwestern Schools, where she taught high school English. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
The American work force is graying - and not just because the American population itself is graying. Older adults are staying in the labor force longer...
'America's Changing Workforce' Pew Research Center Publications
Frances Sue Cherry has retired twice, but she still manages to find her way back behind a work desk on most weekdays.
The 75-year-old Madison resident works as a part-time receptionist at the WorkOne office. She retired from King's Daughters' Hospital after 20 years and then worked in private care with elderly people for 16 years before retiring again.
"I do it because I'm bored," she joked.
Cherry estimated that she spent maybe six weeks in retirement from KDH before finding work as a private caregiver.
After leaving the medical field, Cherry found the position at WorkOne through Experience Works, a government program that finds employment for workers 55 or older. She's worked with the program for the past two and a half years. As part of the program - which is funded through federal grants - she must apply to other places of employment that are currently hiring.
Cherry said she likes to stay active and enjoys the work environment at her newest job. On days she's not working, she volunteers or visits one of her two daughters.
Being on the go has helped Cherry, who survived a bout with lung cancer about four years ago. At the time, she had smoked for 51 years, and the doctors had to take one-eighth of her lung. She has been cancer-free and smoke-free since.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 7.3 million Americans in the work force over the age of 65.
The reasons for that demographic of workers remaining in the work force vary. Cherry said she knows peers who either like to stay busy or still need the income.
"Some of them do it for the additional money, but some are like me," she said. "When you're used to a fast-paced, multitasking job and then you wind down to nothing, you don't like it."
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