GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The economic crisis may be gone, but a lot of people are still feeling its effects. Older adults are taking a huge hit.
Many of them continue to work well into their 70’s and 80’s. 20 years ago, adults over the age of 65 were either thinking about retiring, or already planning out their golden years. Now, more and more of them are still in the workforce. Some do it because they want to, others don’t have a choice.
80-year-old Bernice Haddock makes her way to the fountain wellness center every weekday to manage its Council on Aging.
“I’ve been independent all my life, always wanted to take care of myself, without anyone else helping me,” said Haddock.
She’s 1-in-5 adults over the age of 65 who still works. That number is not what it used to be. In 1994, only 1-in-10 older adults worked.
ECU professor Jim Kleckley said he’s not surprised by the numbers.
“Particularly the last few years its been harder for people to retire.”
He suspects they will continue to rise as more baby boomers become senior citizens. A lot of what people saved up is now gone, thanks to the recession.
Kleckley said the hike could also affect the millennials.
“The longer people work the harder it will be for a younger person to get a job,” Kleckley said.
Some older adults just don’t have a choice. Haddock works so she can keep some money in her pocket and help those who need it the most.
“The word says it’s more blessing to give than to receive. You see you can’t go wrong, but I can’t give anything if I’m not working to have anything to give,” Haddock said.
Haddock doesn’t stop planning anytime soon. Once a month she takes some of the money she earns and donates it to people living in nursing homes.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 22 percent of adults 65 and older will still be in the workforce by 2024.