UnRetiring: A growing trend among baby boomers

Published: Sep. 13, 2018 at 1:28 PM EDT
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"Unretiring." It's a word you may not have heard before, but with baby boomers aging, it's one you should probably get used to.

We all know someone who has retired and gone back to work, some for money, some are bored and others to pursue a passion they couldn't in a previous career.

Eight out of 10 retirees say they go back to work because they want to make a difference.

Two South Bend women "unretired" to take care of other boomers and shared their stories.

Georgeanna Caldwell, a 92-year-old from Osceola who prefers to be called George, is speaking about her 14-hour-a-week caregiver, Lynne Browne. "She's very caring with me."

George lives with her son, Bob, and wife, Diana, who felt the need to move her in with them last Christmas. Bob explained, "She's losing more of her vision with macular degeneration, a little onset of dementia and just needs more care. Cleanliness and fluffing up and the things that's a little more challenging for me to do. Having Lynn here is a tremendous help."

Anedria Gibson is another caregiver who, before retiring, worked at a supervisory level with the intellectually disabled for 42 years.

After retirement, like Lynn, she felt she needed more. "I was bored, I was walking my dogs to death. I was. I was simply just bored. My husband would be out looking for me and he'd say, 'Where did you walk the dogs to?'"

Both Anedria and Lynn found their jobs through Home Instead Senior Care's new career assistant program.

Owner Eric Thomas explains. "Home Instead helps people stay in their homes for as long as they can stay there. Many times our clients will say to me, 'I have lived here 40 or 50 or 60 years and I want to stay here.'"

He explains that they often match them with retirees passionate about helping out. "Sometimes that means helping them with personal care, sometimes it's medication assistance, meal preparation."

For Anedria, doing little chores around the house and visiting with her client has made all the difference in the world. "It helps me immensely. I am working with people my age and I'm thinking, this could be me. I can talk with them, they're my age, they understand what I am talking about, I understand what they are talking about."

Lynn, who previously worked as an activities coordinator for a nursing home, now visits three clients each week.

She and George have become very close. Lynn makes her snacks, helps her maneuver around the house and helps keep life as normal as possible with the inability to see.

Just spending time together gives Bob and Diana time to run errands and go out to dinner on a Friday night knowing mom is in good hands. "Lynn is just like an angel sent to us," Bob says.

And it doesn't go unnoticed by his 92-year-old mother. "I feel very lucky because I've heard about people whose children didn't want them and I can't imagine that," she says.

Both Anedria and Lynn say they take pride in their new careers and the friendships they have made.

"Before I had nothing, I was looking at TV," Anedria says. "I feel so good when I work with the individuals and I come out. They're happy to see me and they're smiling, because they want that company too."

Lynn agrees, saying, "They're a part of my life now and I'm a part of theirs. I needed something to do that was meaningful. It gives me encouragement to grow older."

George tells Lynn, "You're an angel," and Lynn affectionately replies, "And so are you. Takes one to know one."

They're putting "golden" back in retirement by keeping boomers at home as long as possible.

If you're interested in becoming a caregiver or are looking for someone to take care of your loved one, visit Home Instead for more information:

There are other home care programs in our area. Real Services is another valuable tool in finding home care.

Real Services, Inc.

1151 S Michigan St., South Bend, IN 46601

Closes 4:30 p.m.

(574) 233-8205

Some insurance policies may cover in-home services, otherwise it is private pay. You can find all that information out by visiting their websites or calling.