Hello, I’m Louisa Parson, Director of O.N.E. FAVOR, Outreach Network Enrichment Faces and Voices of Recovery.
In my network of underemployed women who have experienced sexual trauma in adolescence, O.N.E. FAVOR, a member came to me with the desire to stay mentally active and to remain productive or useful. Her driving force is she needed the money for thrift store shopping for her new soap and candle making hobby.
Lisa was not alone.
I was thinking those same thoughts and I’m 48. What hobby did I have that I could make into supplemental income? How would I be making money in my sixties? That is only 12 years away.
I celebrated 12 years of recovery from alcohol this year. Twelve years ago these thoughts didn’t enter my mind, because I was still carefree and concentrating on staying sober. I was a far cry from retirement age. Now my retirement years are around the corner.
I need to know how to make money that would not conflict with my recovery lifestyle and could provide supplemental income when I’m an elderly adult. Chances are I will be living longer.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1995 and 2007, the number of full-time older workers (65 and older) doubled. They predicted that between 2006 and 2016, workers between 65 and 74 will grow by 83% while workers 75 and older will increase by 84%.
Do I know of any jobs for people over 50 without a degree?
When I asked my peer in the O.N.E. FAVOR network what job she was interested in, she said her husband didn’t want her to work a job. He commented, “What job for older people with no experience could you find with your mental illness?”
She thought long and hard. She could make her love of soap making and candle making into some spending money. Lisa was tired of asking her husband for cash to go thrift store shopping. Lisa was ready start a new career at 60 years old.
Shopping relaxed Lisa.
It made her feel productive and useful.
She found some great paintings and collector plates for pennies on the dollar. She felt mentally active combing through the shelves finding vintage labels and researching them on her smartphone. Lisa didn’t use her phone except to look up values for items she found.
She enjoyed memories that would bring her back to the days when she was a nurse for the elderly. One thing she liked about her work was spending time with patients who talked about their possessions and how they found them. Each knickknack had a rich story centered on how the patients connected with people and how enriched their lives used to be. She now knows how important those moments were when she listened. Lisa now wishes more people would listen to her stories in her elderly years.
Lisa’s story brought tears to my eyes.
I wanted to help.
I wanted to listen like Lisa did years earlier, hoping that one day someone would listen to me. So we made a list of all the things she liked and didn’t like in her working life. We explored absolutely what she needed to have in her future job. She expressed that people’s opinions should be valued. Lisa liked to be around people that cared about her opinion.
Next we talked about what kind of environment she cannot work in. She responded that anything that was fast-paced wasn’t her cup of tea. She enjoyed moving at her own pace like when she is painting and working in her garden. Lisa wanted someplace where she could set her own hours.
We then discussed if she wanted to work with the public. She definitely wanted to spend time with children, because she misses her grandchildren who are in a different state. After we wrote this all down we came up with some options for Lisa that brought a smile on her face.
We kept it simple: Lisa would volunteer with children at her church and be active in the monthly church bazaar to sell her crafts. It only took a couple of hours to build the plan and both of us had a fun time doing it.
I left her house feeling like I helped Lisa. Most of all, I made a deeper connection with someone I knew by helping her concentrate on the solution instead of the problem.
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out like I did Lisa.
All the best,