Caregiving as an Encore Career

When Wanda decided to leave her long-time position as a Bookkeeper, she was looking for a change of pace, something to keep her busy but with less hours and a more flexible schedule. Though financially secure, she wasn’t quite ready to retire permanently. Wanda didn’t realize it at the time, but she was confronting a situation that thousands of older workers—professional and blue-collar alike—are facing. Either by choice or necessity, they are taking new paths and some are choosing encore careers.

Encore careers are not only defined as work in the second half of life, but as a type of work, that combines continued income with greater personal meeting. It’s an opportunity to do something that has social impact after midlife work.

Encore career positions are paid and are centered around public interest fields, such as: education, environment, health, government, social services and non-profits. An estimated 5.3 million to 8.4 million of Americans, age 44 to 70, will seek out this type of work – providing them with means and meaning.

Wanda found personal meaning through her encore career as a caregiver. Currently, there is a growing and pressing need for in-home caregivers, who can help the nation’s older population with activities of daily living. Wanda’s caregiving tasks can range from personal care assistance, helping with medication reminders, going on walks and getting dressed, to home maker services which include doing laundry, grocery shopping, or going out to lunch or dinner. Companion care is also included, Wanda enjoys playing games, reading, watching movies and doing crafts with her clients.

All in all, Wanda found that caregiving is a fun and meaningful position where she can bring joy to someone’s life while getting paid.