Some Older People Have to Go Back to Work

Disclaimer: Views and opinions in Bob’s Blog are solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views and opinions of the Office on Aging or its staff.  Posted July 11, 2024

I don’t know if you realize this.

There is one group of people impacted most by the rising prices over the last several years – older people whose only source of income is their monthly Social Security benefits.

Yes, the yearly increases in Social Security benefits each of the last several years have been larger than in previous years.  However, price increases have been larger.

Initially, these people were able to buy food, pay all of their monthly bills and still have a little left at the end of the month.  As prices rose, their buying power shrank.

They made cuts where they could. However, that has not been enough. Right now, they are lucky to barely pay their bills and to buy the food they need to survive.

How Their Lives Have Changed!

When they first retired, they looked forward to things they wanted to do but couldn’t while working.  Now they can’t because they don’t have the money.

Then there are those whose spouses have died.  Many suddenly find they have to survive on their own Social Security benefit. The stress is unbearable.  They don’t know how they will survive.

Most never thought they would be in this position.  Now they suddenly are in the position where they may need to work to make enough money to cover what they need.

Two questions come up

Where Can They Find Work?

Who Will Hire a Person at Their Age?

This is troubling.

Let’s look at this more closely.

All of those in this situation are not in the same predicament. Some can earn enough by working several hours here and there each week or each month. Others can get by working a certain number of hours every week. A small number have to work full time.

Fortunately, there is a variety of work available right now to cover each of these situations.

There Are Many Part-time Jobs Where A Person Can Set the Hours They Work

One of these is babysitting. A person can virtually set the amount of time they babysit.

They can watch a couple’s child or children when they want to go out on a date.

Today, there is also a real challenge for husbands and wives who both have to work and have small children. They need someone to watch them. Until recently, they relied on Day Care Centers.  However, the care at most of these centers has become very expensive.

That presents a great opportunity for an older woman to care for their children. Parents can bring their child or children to their home and they can be cared for there.

The older person providing the care can work as much as they want. The one thing they have to be careful of is not to have their home be classified as an unlicensed day care center.  That occurs when a person is caring for 5 or more unrelated children at a time.

Elder Care

There is another type of care in big demand today – adult day care. As people age, some develop Alzheimer’s or another form of Dementia.  They cannot be left alone. Others have disabilities which prevent them from caring for themselves. Their children have to find a center or an individual to care for them during the day.

Here again, the centers providing this type of care are expensive. Normally, it is cheaper to hire someone to come into their home and care for their parents there.

Most of the time this care is only necessary during the day from Monday to Friday. The adult children take care of their parents during the evenings and over the weekend.


Another job where people can determine how many hours they work is tutoring. This is a great job for retired teachers or those who have developed skills during their working lives. Tutors help teenagers and younger children in the areas they have expertise in.

Handyman Help

Many men desire to do projects around the house but don’t feel they have the knowledge to do them. This is the perfect opportunity for a person who worked as a handyman. They can come in and guide the men through the project they want to do.

The home owner not only feels great about what they did but they also save money by not needing to have a professional do it.

Handymen can advertise their services on a site like Craigslist.

Pet Care

Today more and more people have dogs or cats. They need someone to care for them when they are away from home. They hire people to care for these pets at their homes or at the home of the care providers.

Frequently some dog owners have two dogs.  They need people to walk their dogs during the day. They will pay people to do this for them.

The nice thing about caring for a dog or cat is the person doing it can screen the to make sure they won’t have a problem with the animals before they take the job.

For Some The Need is Greater

They may have to work a fixed number of hours part-time or get a full-time 40 hour a week job.

After the Covid-19 Pandemic ended, many companies had a problem. They found that during the pandemic, many of their workers found jobs elsewhere and didn’t return to their previous jobs.

A large number of jobs became available. While many of these jobs have been filled, there are still many jobs available.

In addition, some companies have grown and have to fill new positions.

With the shortage of workers, the companies have looked at innovative ways to fill these positions.  One way is to hire 2 people to work 20 hours a week part-time each and cover a job which one person previously had done in 40 hours.  A benefit to the company is they don’t have to provide benefits to an employee working part-time.

For many of these part-time 20 hour a week jobs, companies will hire older people.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies started allowing employees to work from home   People loved this.

While many companies now want to eliminate these work-from-home positions, some employees resent going back to an office and quit. That caused companies to relent. There are still many work-from-home opportunities available which older people can apply for.

Some of The Part and Full-Time Jobs Older People Can Apply For

Data Entry Clerk

Companies collect a wide range of data to see how their businesses are doing and to help them evaluate where their businesses are growing, what products they may offer in the future and what products are no longer being purchased.

They need people to enter this data into their systems so these analyses can be done. They frequently look for part-time workers. Many work from home.

Customer Service Representative

There are a variety of jobs for a customer service representative. Here are some – taking orders, scheduling appointments, answering questions about products, handling customer concerns and complaints, doing surveys and getting customer feedback.

In the past, many of these positions were outsourced to companies outside the United States.  Very few realize that most companies have people working in these positions in the United States. If a person is not satisfied with talking to a person in a foreign country or doesn’t agree with what they are being told, they can ask to have their call transferred to someone here in the US.

Personal Assistant

This is a new job created in the last 20 years. Many older people haven’t heard of it.

Managers, and other executives at companies hire people to do routine work for them so they don’t get bogged down and can spend more time on important issues.

The work personal assistants do varies from reading and responding to emails, screening phone calls, running errands for their bosses to scheduling meetings.  Advances in technology has permitted most of this work to be handled from home. Many are part time positions.

Substitute Teacher

In Tennessee, a person does not have to have been a teacher to be a substitute teacher.  Here are the requirements:

  • High school diploma or GED, and in some districts, a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Fingerprint card and background check.
  • Skills Test.
  • Completed application and application fees.
  • Official Transcripts.
  • Letters of recommendation.

Before a person can take the skills test, they have to take a skills training course online. It prepares them for scenarios they may encounter in a classroom. The course includes:

  • Teaching strategies
  • Classroom Management
  • Professionalism, and
  • Special Education.

The skills test is based on what they learn in this course. The minimum passing score can vary from school district to district.

Those hired as a substitute can teach for 20 days a year. If they want to teach more than 20 days, they need an educator’s license.

Librarian Assistant or Aide

This is a great job for people who love to read.  Part time positions vary from library to library.

Fast Food Restaurants

Fast Food restaurants are always looking for employees. Traditionally, many of the employees have been young.  The turnover rate is high. Younger people are looking for jobs that pay more money.  Their time on the jobs at these restaurants is short.  The restaurants are regularly looking for new people to replace them.

Older people are better candidates. They are more reliable and likely to stay. Frequently, they also are more friendly with customers.

Department and Grocery Stores

Stores like Walmart, Target, Kohls, Hobby Lobby, Kroger, Ingles and Food City hire older people. They find older employees to be more reliable.

Frequently Older People Are Anxious and Leery About Applying and Interviewing For a Job

Some older people may be very interested in getting some type of work. However, they fear the interview process and are afraid to apply for a job. It may have been a while since they worked. They may feel they don’t have the skills required to do what the job requires.

The computer age may have passed some of them by. They have trouble using computers and fear companies won’t hire them because of this.

These should not hold them back.

There is a federal job training program for unemployed people 55 and older who face barriers to employment.  It is the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

Those in this program learn how to use technology and other skills they may need on the jobs they get.  Many are also placed in paid part-time community service positions so they can develop their skills on the job.

Locally, the Office on Aging offers this program. To find out more about it, please call 865-524-2786. It is also offered by the East Tennessee Human Resources Association (ETHRA). The person to talk to at ETHRA is Renae Haskins. Her phone number is 865-691-2551, ext. 4347.

Job Fairs For Older People

The Office on Aging also offers 2 Job Fairs each year (one in May and the other in October). Representatives from companies that hire older people attend these.  People looking for work can come in and talk to these representatives. Information on these fairs including the dates and locations appears on the office’s website, a month or two before each one.

Unfortunately, some people who never planned to work after the retire find themselves in positions where they have to. Hopefully, the information in this blog post is helpful to them.


If you have any comments on what you have read in this post, please email them to me. Also – if you have any ideas about subjects you would like to see discussed in future posts, please send me an email and let me know. My email address is