Baby Boomers Giving Back with “Encore” Careers in Senior Home Care


At a White House conference on aging in 2015, then President Obama encouraged the nation of the urgency to:

  • help seniors remain active contributors in their communities,
  • address rising eldercare and healthcare costs,
  • protect Social Security, and
  • train more home health care workers.

Every day now, 11,000 baby boomers turn 65, creating more and more need for in home senior care. President Obama explained, “We have to work to do more to ensure that every older American has the resources and the support they need to thrive.” We’ve been encouraging those burnt out in the rat race to consider encore careers in senior home care

Here at Love 2 Live, we like that the president used the term “thrive.” Indeed with experienced, compassionate in home senior care, our mothers and fathers CAN thrive, enjoying their homes and neighborhoods far into their retirement years if not forever. Sometimes, a few hours of weekly household help, transportation and more makes all the difference in keeping the senior active and engaged. We are concerned, however, about the supply of senior in home caregivers that will be needed in the coming decade and beyond.

Scratch the Itch to Give Back as a Senior Care Professional

We hope the president raising the alarm for the need for positive, competent senior caregivers will reach a certain population: the baby boomers considering an “encore career.” If you’ve never heard of an encore career, think Bill Gates who left chairmanship of Microsoft to work at his foundation. There’s also Al Gore who spearheaded the push for awareness about global warming.

Similarly, many baby boomers across the United States in their fifties are now moving out of high-stress, long-hours careers in executive positions to give back to society. Jobs undertaken after long professional careers in the corporate world are called “encore” careers. These careers don’t have the income an executive is used to, but the flexibility, lower stress levels and opportunity to perform meaningful work draws millions.

Nicholas Kristof, writing in the New York Times, explains,

“If more people take on encore careers… the boomers who arrived on the scene by igniting a sexual revolution could leave by staging a give-back revolution. Boomers may just be remembered more for what they did in their 60s than for what they did in the Sixties.”

A study conducted by the organization and MetLife found the move to encore careers  in senior home care to be an burgeoning trend. More than 4.5 million people aged 50 to 70 identify themselves as encore careerists today. Another 21 million self-identify as preparing to move to this new path.

The survey also found that 50 was the average age that those in encore careers started thinking about making a switch. The switch itself took an average of 18 months. And here’s the key statistic from the study: “Nearly everyone in an encore career (86 percent) says that their encore role is as or more enjoyable than their prior career.” They also report that the encore career expresses better who they are as a person more than their prior work. While there is no Encore! San Diego branch as yet, anyone can start one any time. Encore! has branches in Tampa Bay, Hartford and Boston, among others.

Those in the encore career aren’t the only ones loving the new trend. Another Encore study revealed that half of all nonprofit employers view hiring encore workers as “highly appealing.” Those with experience hiring older adults were most enthusiastic about doing it again.

The Origin of the Encore Career

This new social movement started when writer Marc Freedman noticed a trend and wrote it up in the book Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life. The book received such an enthusiastic reception that Freeman opened Encore.org, a non-profit organization that works to “engage millions of people in later life as a vital source of talent to benefit society.” In addition to providing written and video resources, Encore.org sponsors a yearly prize for employers and employees as well as networking opportunities.

We’re moved by Marc Freedman’s dream that:

“What if, over time, 100,000 people interested in encore careers were persuaded to launch 10-year encore careers? That would mean one million years of service dedicated to areas like education, poverty, and the environment . . . Applying this human talent and experience to the big challenges of our time could be as profound a contribution as those made possible by new technologies or even massive infusions of philanthropic dollars.”

Done with Your High-Pressure Career? Ready to Give Back?

Love to Live would Love to Hear from You

woman heading for encore careerIf you’ve always felt drawn to the senior population, you owe it to yourself to explore encore careers in senior home care. You may be surprised at how specialized you can get. Love 2 Live encourages caregivers to become expert in many areas of senior care including diabetes care, promoting and maintain mobility, understanding senior rights, elder abuse and much more. Our free training modules introduce you to the fascinating field of senior care. If you want to make a difference in the lives of seniors in San Diego, please contact us at 619-291-4663 or start your caregiver application here. We are a small, friendly and family-run senior care agency located in Hillcrest and we look forward to hearing from you!