SCV retirees are looking for more fulfilling career options

Mike Garrett delivers a presentation about his experiences working as an engineer at the SCV Senior Center in Newhall on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. He has been an engineer with JPL for 31 years and is on the NASA Speakers Bureau. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

A recent survey by Home Instead Senior Care revealed that more than half of the aging workforce in Santa Clarita is thinking about continuing work or returning to work, a fact confirmed by the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center.
In Santa Clarita, the majority of both those approaching retirement (68 percent) and those who have “unretired” and returned to work (65 percent) said they would change or have changed industries, according to data gathered by Home Instead, a network specializing in non-medical in-home care for the elderly.

Nearly 80 percent of both groups said they want to make a meaningful impact in their communities in their post-retirement years, such as through volunteerism or a role involving caregiving, teaching or giving back.
SCV Senior Center staff said they now offer a “second career center” for seniors who want to return to the workforce.

The center provides monthly workshops, and the workshops address employment options for seniors, questions they may have about getting a second career, resume writing and other interviewing techniques, said Nikki Cervantes, an SCV Senior Center executive assistant in charge of the career center.

“There’s a variety of seniors that need to go back to work and need extra income,” she said. “For the younger seniors, they definitely still want to contribute and continue some type of employment and are still in that mindset, or want to follow their passion with a second career and get involved with something new.

“On the other hand, there are people who are over 80 who are still very sharp, able-bodied and want to be employed,” she said. “We’ve only had this center for four months, but it’s already quite successful.”
Cervantes said there is a base of 25 to 30 seniors who come in regularly, and there are additional seniors who come to monthly workshops put on by the career center addressing employment fears and financial concerns.

“It complements the idea that people getting a little older definitely still care about having a career,” said Robin Clough, recreation coordinator for the senior center. “Age is really not a factor anymore, and people still want to be productive and they have so much to offer.”
According to the Home Instead Inc. survey, important motivators for returning to work for those who have retired were fighting boredom (44 percent) or keeping their minds sharp (22 percent), while finding new challenges and fulfillment were the most common motivators for those approaching retirement.
Charlene Perrone, the co-owner and COO of Home Instead, who resides in Santa Clarita, said many independent seniors in the SCV are now rethinking retirement.

“Lots of people I’ve spoken to left work at 65, thought ‘retirement will be better,’” she said. “Now they’re looking at other ways to channel themselves into the community wherever they feel they can make a difference. I get calls and applications from people over age 65 all the time looking for personal and purposeful satisfaction, and we try and accommodate them.”

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