Adapting work to meet aging needs
At 76, Beverly is learning multiple new skills through Easterseals Oregon
A former third/fourth-grade teacher and Program Area Supervisor in the Head Start program, Beverly hit a bump in the road in 2016 when she battled a health issue. At that time, she left her position at Community Action to focus on wellness.
“I lost a lot of confidence in that process. I did it all on a limited budget, however, financial concerns crept in.”
She reached out to her local Easterseals Oregon organization to learn of the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). She met with the director and applied. She was found eligible and started within a few weeks. The SCSEP program allowed her to earn a stipend while training and learning new skills for future job opportunities.
“For the first six to eight months, I was at the work source center, and I collaborated with other participants, which was eye-opening. I was once again reminded of all my blessings, even in difficult personal times.”
Beverly trained there for a year and nine months, where she developed computer skills, developed a budget and worked to plan her employment goals. From there, she moved to the Easterseals Oregon administration office located just a few miles from her home.
“I love it there and I get to do a variety of tasks and help support planned events. I learned about a new application, Donor Perfect and support through data entry. The team is so supportive and loving. It is an ideal environment for me to work with a small group of people. I get to assist others by offering Easterseals Oregon resources to Veterans, seniors, or those with disabilities.”
Dealing with lifestyle changes
Beverly feels blessed to have a daughter, a son-in-law, and two granddaughters who live nearby. She also lives in a great senior residency where she has an active group of girlfriends who regularly play cards and go line dancing.
“I am adapting to physical changes at 76. My body is not the same and it is taking me some time to adapt to those shifts. Easterseals Oregon has helped me to develop the confidence that I need. Plus, they have shown me that even though I must adapt to changes in health I can still contribute to society.”
As she aged, she developed new medical-related issues. Changes like these mean she has also had to adapt her work skills to meet jobs she can excel at. Adaptions include shifts in abilities and energy levels.
Finding a like-minded community
One of the added resources the SCSEP program adopted was GetSetUp classes on upskilling and reskilling for jobs.
“We have quarterly Zoom meetings with SCSEP staff and participants across the state. The program highly encouraged us all to sign up for virtual classes on GetSetUp. I thought, ‘oh my goodness this is perfect for me as I am a lifelong learner!”
Beverly can take classes on job topics, and she was also able to enjoy health and wellness classes like yoga.
“I love the classes, the variety, and how interactive they are with direct connection with the instructor. You can participate with either your phone or laptop, which is very convenient, and afterward, I get emails with class notes with invaluable links.”
Beverly likes to take pages of notes, so she found it particularly helpful to have notes to reference from aspects of the class she might have missed.
Beverly is looking forward to the future and these trainings and tools support her goals. She continues to have much more she wants to contribute. She was interested in learning more about options to work from home that might meet her interests. Classes like How to make extra income without leaving your home and Finding work-from-home jobs as an older adult help customize the wealth of information out there to resources Beverly can utilize.
“Kevin Miller’s classes are great. He offered multiple approaches to work based on your personality and what you could do online.”
Beverly learned her personal style of work involves helping others, so she was able to match the resources Kevin gave to those skills. She particularly liked that Kevin had worked with many of these endeavors before so could give personal insight.
“That’s the wonderful thing about these classes. I did not think I had a passion but I do! I like to educate and improve people’s state of being. I’m a teacher and like to offer resources to people as I do in my training with Easterseals Oregon. I have a lengthy list of where to send people when they call in for resources from where to get durable medical equipment to the best resources for our seniors, Veterans, and disabled.”
While there are many technology and job skill-related classes on GetSetUp, there are also classes that address some important soft skills associated with work. Beverly really enjoyed her class on self-compassion.
“That little voice we all have one on each shoulder saying negative things and one saying positive things. This class taught me how to breathe and talk to myself to manage these. I enjoyed the concept of ‘hand over heart’ along with ‘palms up’ while meditating. I think as you age it is important to be adaptable and focus on loving yourself.”
Overall the greatest advantage to GetSetUp for Beverly has been excellent training that takes the mystery out of some of the technical terms and utilizations.
“Everybody talked about the iCloud. I do not have a lot of technical knowledge so I thought ‘I’m going to take that class.’ The Guide took the class on a virtual tour and made it so easy to understand. I realized the cloud is not mysterious.”
Plus Beverly learned about all the tools available through Google Apps and has recently started using the Notes application in her Easterseals Oregon training. Taking notes has always helped her reinforce her knowledge and now she’s gaining the tools to apply those skills to a digital medium.
More than just job support
“I know I’m not the only single 70-something-year-old woman with a need to earn a bit more income. Having a budget that isn’t overextended reduces your stress level enormously. I’m definitely healthier and happier.”
She credits this not only to her training but to the resources she has gained. Easterseals Oregon helped put her in contact with a resource that helped her get mortgage support. The advice and assistance with career planning helped her to plan her next steps.
“The ability to explore other work and learn adaptability with a stipend is extremely helpful. It is minimum wage here, but I earn plenty to cover my expenses. Now I am in a much better financial position, but that’s not the most important part. I’ve also developed socially through relationships. When I walk into work, people are happy to see me, and I’m happy to be there. Easterseals Oregon offers multilevel benefits for sure!”
Beverly is constantly seeking employment that fulfills her needs. She continues to add tools from her training program and GetSetUp. She adjusts to changes, adapts, and takes each moment as a learning opportunity.
“You grow through the Easterseals Oregon SCSEP program if you put the work in, and I put the work in for sure!”