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Retire? There’s still work to do

Active, vibrant lifestyle at Riderwood supports those in the workforce

Created date

May 9th, 2018
Bea Rodgers, who lives at Riderwood, continues to work part time as a consultant to two organizations that advocate for people with disabilities.

Bea Rodgers, who lives at Riderwood, continues to work part time as a consultant to two organizations that advocate for people with disabilities.

“I have failed retirement twice,” jokes Bea Rodgers, who resides at Riderwood in Silver Spring, Md.

Bea has a master’s degree in social work and has spent most of her career in the disability field. For 17 years, she served as the director of the Governor’s Office for Individuals with Disabilities under former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening. When Gov. Glendening’s term ended, Bea took that as an opportunity to retire.

Perhaps third time’s the charm

That attempt at retirement didn’t quite take: Bea quickly got involved with launching Resource Connections, an organization that provides eligibility assistance and resource coordination to people who are receiving services from the Developmental Disabilities Administration. She stayed with that organization for seven years and then decided once again to retire.

“But I had another job right away,” Bea says. “I started doing some consulting.”

Interestingly, Riderwood’s social work department was one of Bea’s past consulting clients.

Now she has two part-time consulting jobs. She works with By Their Side, an advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also does staffing and lobbying work for the Prince George’s Provider Council, another advocacy group for people with disabilities.

“I work an average of 12 to 15 hours a week,” Bea says. “So the rest of my time can be volunteering and other things I like to do.”

Ideal lifestyle for working adults

Bea is part of a growing national trend of older Americans who are either continuing to work for longer or returning to work after a period of retirement. A 2017 survey from nonprofit research organization RAND Corporation found that almost 40% of people 65-plus who were currently working at the time of the survey had previously been retired.

“We definitely see evidence that retirement is fluid,” study coauthor Kathleen Mullen told The New York Times. “There’s less of the traditional schedule: work to a certain age, retire, see the world. We see people lengthening their careers.”

A little over two years ago, Bea decided to move from Greenbelt, Md., to Riderwood. She had become familiar with the community while she was working there as a consultant, and like many of her neighbors, she says maintaining a property was becoming a burden.

“As I got older, so did my townhouse. I was getting tired of being a homeowner, particularly in the winter,” Bea says.

Bea says she wanted to move to Riderwood sooner rather than later so she could take advantage of the social life and many activities available for its community members.

In addition to her work and volunteer committees, Bea has indeed gotten involved at Riderwood. She is a member of the Democratic club and takes water exercise classes. She’s also trying to expand her computer skills, so she’s taken courses through the Prince George’s Community College program that offers classes on site at Riderwood.

Yes, Bea lives at a retirement community, but she’s anything but retired.