Gray Power: Enrich life through productivity

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I work almost daily with older workers.

Many are motivated and look for challenges that will keep them active. Some are seeking help to supplement their income and benefits.

Today, when a woman reaches age 65, she can expect to live another twenty years on the average. Sorry men, you are only to live fifteen more years. What are you going to do with those years?

There are those who make excuses for why they can&8217;t work. Many are in a comfort zone. Excuses, excuses, excuses … there are ways to adapt rather than complain.

One of my mentors is Max Cooper, president of CLP, the company that owns the McDonald&8217;s franchise in Birmingham. He states that everyone needs a purpose to get up each morning.

Older workers take pleasure in doing their daily tasks.

It gives them a reason to get out of bed and creates a positive purpose in their life.

Quit making excuses. You say I can&8217;t stand because I have bad knees. You could challenge yourself to exercise to improve mobility or find a job where you can sit.

Don&8217;t just say you can&8217;t work because you will lose your benefits or your rent will go up. Check the rules and laws. There may be ways to combat those.

Transportation can be a factor, but many churches have programs to assist. Check MAX or ClasTran for

public transportation. Call on friends and family. Look for work in your geographic area.

Finding the right job may be problematic, but network using friends and family to find jobs that are not advertised. The newspaper has less than 15 percent of the jobs available.

Some say they can only work part time. Many employers are seeking only part-time workers because younger workers are in school during the day. Many employers also want the mature worker because they are more dependable.

Others don&8217;t have computer skills. There are many courses available to give you basic skills in modern technology. Some are free. &8220;Old dogs can learn new tricks.&8221;

With the record low unemployment, the older worker is the wave of the future. Many times, you are our own worse enemy. Because of fear you don&8217;t allow yourself to reach for the stars.

Dr. Marvin Copes of Maylene is an Education/Community Service Volunteer for AARP Alabama. He can be reached at