Carol Loggins may be past the traditional retirement age, but she's not ready to give up the benefits that come from working.
"There's the financial incentive, of course," says Carol, an occupational health nurse. "But there's so much more. Working keeps me mentally sharp, engaged, and gives structure to my week."
Carol's not alone when it comes to extending her career past 65. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men and women working past the traditional retirement age are the fastest growing segment in the workforce. Labor force participation among 65 to 74 year olds is expected to reach 32% by 2022, up from 20% in 2002.
"If people love what they're doing, they often want to continue doing it, says Dorian Mintzer, Ph.D., a retirement transitions coach and coauthor of The Couple's Retirement Puzzle. "Work can provide a sense of connection, engagement, purpose, and meaning, all essential components of well-being."
For Carol, her current work situation is ideal.
"I work three days a week at Chevron's travel medicine clinic in downtown Houston," she says. "We see Chevron employees who are planning to move or travel overseas to ensure they are in good health and up-to-date on all needed immunizations."
Her three-day work schedule offers a pleasant work-life balance.
"So often in our early working years, we have to squeeze life into work," says Mintzer. "Now many people who are working past the traditional retirement age are finding ways to fit work into life."
Well-positioned for the future
In February 2017, Carol moved to Eagle's Trace, the Erickson Living community in West Houston. As a continuing care retirement community, Eagle's Trace offers independent living, assisted living, and long-term care.
"I had friends dealing with health concerns, and I realized I needed to be prepared should I ever require care," says Carol. "As I was doing my research and visiting retirement communities around Houston, I also heard from residents to move sooner rather than later so I could start enjoying all the benefits and amenities of a retirement community."
Now Carol says the move was fortuitous in more ways than one.
"Things started falling into place after I moved to Eagle's Trace," she says. "I learned the Addicks Park and Ride is only two miles from the community. I take the bus to work—it's free for those over 70—and it drops me off right in front of the Chevron building."
When she returns home from work, Carol says she has just enough time to rest and watch a few minutes of television before heading to one of the community's on-site restaurants for dinner.
"Not cooking is just fine with me," she says. "After dinner, there are clubs and activities right here on campus."
Active, vibrant lifestyle
The advice Carol received from community members to move so she could enjoy all the community has to offer was spot on.
"I joined the computer club, the genealogy club, and the Great Decisions discussion group, which meet on different weeknights," says Carol. "I'm not as comfortable driving after dark as I used to be, so it's a great advantage to have all these options just a short walk from my apartment."
Carol also appreciates the on-site fitness center and the medical center, staffed by full-time physicians.
"A few weeks ago, I was able to get a same-day appointment with a doctor in the medical center," she says. "That's pretty rare in today's world."
Giving up the chores associated with home maintenance was another benefit of the move.
"I lived in my Bellaire home for 43 years," says Carol. "I did some remodeling 12 years ago, but it was starting to need more work. I don't have to worry about that anymore."
Carol's two-bedroom Hastings-style apartment, which she shares with her cat Patience, is filled with natural light. Glass doors just off the living area lead to a covered patio.
"I used to love working in my yard, but even that was getting to be a chore," she says. "Now the area around my patio provides just the right amount of space to plant a few things."
Doing what she loves
Having rightsized her living space, Carol's free to focus on activities, including work, which bring fulfillment. On Monday mornings, she's out the door by 5:30 a.m. Her shift at the travel medicine clinic runs from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
"I'm grateful for my job," she says. "I work with a wonderful team. We're committed to operational excellence, and we're doing the work we have to do in the best possible way. I'll keep doing what I'm doing for as long as I can."