Can I Work While Living in Assisted Living?

If you are a senior interested in possibly moving into an assisted living community, you undoubtedly are on a quest for more information about what life is like in such a facility. If you still work part of the week, one question you may have is whether or not you can work while residing in assisted living. This article addresses the issue of holding a job or working while a resident of an assisted living community. We take on four primary topics associated with the idea of continuing to work while in assisted living:

  • Why do people move to an assisted living community in the first place
  • Ins and outs of working while in assisted living
  • Rise of self-employed professionals and freelancers
  • Small business owners and assisted living
  • Assisted living and your independence

Why People Move to Assisted Living

Like many people, you may harbor some misconceptions about assisted living. One area in which there are such misconceptions is why people move to assisted living communities in the first instance.

We initially swipe away a persistent and incorrect idea about assisted living. That misconception is that assisted living is for people incapable of living independently. As will be discussed more in a moment, assisted living is designed to enhance the independence of men and women in their senior years.

Common reasons why people decide to join an assisted living community include:

  • Desire for increased socialization and to live among people with whom residents have common interests
  • Desire for assistance with certain tasks of daily living
  • Desire for added safety and security offered by life in an assisted living community
  • Desire for less responsibility for matters like tending to a yard or maintaining a residence

Ins and Outs of Working While Residing in Assisted Living

It is hard to imagine an assisted living community that would have a prohibition against residents working away from the facility. While many people get further into their senior years and gladly end their everyday life, others do not. In the final analysis, provided some work by residents doesn’t somehow violate the appropriate rules of an assisted living community, there is no reason why a resident cannot continue to engage in meaningful employment.

A common example of a working assisted living resident is a man or woman who maintains employment on a part-time basis. For example, a resident may have been employed for an extended period. That individual may be with a firm or company that wants the person to continue to come into the office or other workplace for a certain number of (part-time) hours each week.

Remember that some assisted living residents can continue to drive safely. Thus, transportation isn’t even an issue when it comes to continuing to work after taking up residence in assisted living.

As an aside, there are a good number of benefits associated with working into a person’s Golden Years:

  • Continued employment tends to enhance a person’s memory and cognitive health
  • Continued work can also enhance an individual’s emotional wellbeing
  • Finally, there can be some physical benefits associated with maintaining a job a person enjoys, including improved heart health

Rise of Self-Employed Professionals and Freelancers

Over 10 percent of the U.S. population is self-employed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This cohort of individuals works for themselves as freelancers and gig workers. It does not include individuals who are small business owners with their own cadre of employees.

The self-employment rate started to trend slightly downward between the mid-1990s and the mid-2010s. In about 2015, the trend flattened – until the COVID pandemic. At that juncture, the number of self-employed people ultimately moved upward again.

The reality is that many self-employed men and women have reached their 60s. Some of these people were happy to land in retirement. Others either did not desire to stop working or had financial concerns that necessitated ongoing work, at least on a part-time basis.

Small Business Owners and Assisted Living

Creating a small business is life’s work for a significant segment of the senior population in the 21st century. Consequently, a notable percentage of people considering assisted living are the founders and owners of small business enterprises.

Once a sense of entrepreneurship gets into a person’s blood, it is hard to get it out – if not impossible. Therefore, many seniors either maintain an ownership role in their businesses or are involved in some capacity with an enterprise, even if they have sold it. The bottom line is that several people considering assisted living have been or continue to be small business owners. Thus, these people may have the need or desire to spend at least some time each week working at their business.

Assisted Living and Your Independence

Maintaining and enhancing a person’s independence is key to living in an assisted living community. Assisted living might provide a resident with what fairly can be called “supported independence.” This means that a resident can enjoy autonomy, privacy, and a schedule of tailored activities tailored to the needs, desires, goals, and objectives of a specific resident. Assisted living permits a person to leave behind some of the life limitations experienced due to aging in place at home. A person can enjoy more independent living when moving into an assisted living community. That includes deciding how a resident will spend his or her time.

In summary, if a person wants to continue working in some capacity after moving into an assisted living community, that is the individual’s prerogative. Again, enhanced resident independence is a hallmark of life in an assisted living community in the United States.