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'60 is the new 40': Why one ex-retiree rejoined the labour force — and she's not alone

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During her year of retirement Kathy Richinski was visiting her mother at a seniors' high rise and every time she'd go, there were other women who waited for her to stop by — they had no visitors of their own.

Richinski spoke with a friend who told her about Home Instead Senior Care. She interviewed for a position with the company.

"I didn't want full-time work, I was happy at home but I was missing the public. I've been in the public my whole life," she said.

Richinski, a year shy of 65, sees her job as one she can continue with in the years to come. When she celebrates her next birthday, she will join the many seniors in Canada who have continued to work beyond the age of retirement. According to the 2016 Census, in 2015, one in five Canadian seniors reported working during the year and Saskatchewan had one of the highest percentages of working seniors.

It's a trend that agencies in the city are watching.

The Saskatoon Council on Aging is seeing a "slight upswing" in inquiries from older workers relating to finding agencies that help with employment, said Virginia Dakiniewich, fund development and communications co-ordinator.

Dr. Murray Scharf, a former University of Saskatchewan professor, is a part of The New Horizons: Seniors Encore Career Project, a partnership between the SCOA and other local agencies aimed at helping older adults in the workforce and as entrepreneurs. Project funding comes from the federal government through the Employment and Social Development department to community-based projects.

The Saskatoon project held focus groups with discussions looking at seniors as wells as agencies and employers. The next stage of the project will look at options for "career transition."

Scarf was not available for an interview, but provided information about the project.

Home Instead is one of the workplaces embracing the trend of retirees rejoining the labour force, and touts its network of franchises as one of the largest employers of older workers. It recently released a report based on two online surveys conducted in the U.S. and Canada by Atomik Research that received responses from 502 people who have retired and 500 people who have plans to retire. The survey suggests that 41 per cent of respondents who are either still working or plan to retire in the next five years feel they are somewhat or very likely to return to the workforce.

Owner of the Saskatoon Home Instead office, Greg Charyna, said the post-retirement experience is changing.


"A decade or a generation ago, people just worked to retirement and they actually retired. And nowadays, we have more and more people that are a part of this changing landscape. They're choosing to return to work, either in a paid or volunteer capacity after retiring," he said.

Charyna said some join Home Instead as a caregiver, and others in administration. Some have backgrounds that include work for the former health region, as educational assistants and former nurses. Others have experience caring for ageing family members, as well.

Richinski doesn't think people retire at 65 anymore like they traditionally have in the past. Many of her friends have retired and then returned to the workforce.

"I think 60 is the new 40," she said.

Four years ago, Richinski retired at the age of 60 after contemplating it for years, and never thought she'd work after retiring.

She had worked since the age of 15 and had a varied career working retail, as an operator, a clerical assistant at a bank, and after taking a medical terminology course worked as a head receptionist at a medi-clinic, then at a dental clinic.

While working at the dental clinic, she realized she was ready to slow down.

"I had young grandchildren and an aging mom and the seed was planted to quit," she said.

Now working part-time, Richinski said that she's never felt more appreciated and says she feels rewarded. She takes clients out for coffee, appointments and she's found they love the drives.

When she returned to work, she realized she has a lot to offer.

"I wasn't ready to call it a day yet," she said.

Star Phoenix Story

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