Working into retirement can bring a new lease of life

  • The List
  • 13 August 2008
Working into retirement can bring a new lease of life

What do you see in your future? A cosy retirement? Make it to 60 and then you’re free for sand, sea and sangria? Well, not everyone feels quite the same. A growing number of people choose to work past retirement age because they don’t want a ‘quiet’ life.

You’re hired!

As Sir Alan Sugar says:

"Some people believe that when you get past a certain age of 50 that it’s all over.
Well, they’re wrong, they’re totally wrong."

And who would disagree?

Most older people may not be interested in becoming the next Apprentice but there are many who are happy to work well into retirement.

Lily Hendry (70) from Robroyston in Glasgow says that she isn’t ready to retire and has no intention on giving up work anytime in the near future.

Working with the NHS for just over 40 years, Lily has gained a lifetime of experience that inspires younger staff to do well in their roles. She works 12 hour shifts, three days a week at the Golden Jubilee Hospital as a scrub nurse and takes part in a wide variety of operations from knee replacements to hysterectomies.

Her specialty is participating in eye surgery: “I take pride in all the operations that I am involved in. However, I feel that when it comes to passing on my skills, eye training is my personal favourite. I am always more than happy to help newer members of staff on this subject.”

However, at times it is not skills that new staff members need to gain, but confidence: “Although they are eager to learn, at times it is apparent that they are scared out of their wits; this is understandable as any new job can be daunting. I quickly reassure them and try to answer any queries they have.”

Lily explains that in turn the fresh faces teach her new techniques that they have learned during their time of study: “Medical technology is constantly changing and at times the younger members of staff have to show me how things work. To me, everyday is a school day.”

At the age of 70, Lily works because she enjoys nursing, not because she needs the salary. She explains “Nursing makes me happy and I take pride in what I do. I am lucky to be in a situation where I don’t have to work, yet I still want to. I hope to continue nursing for as long as possible.”

Lily has recently been nominated for a NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Diamond Award for her long standing contribution to the health service. She was nominated by other staff members at the Golden Jubilee Hospital who were able to provide a long list of reasons why she deserved to win, including her skills as a team leader and teacher as well as her fun attitude and witty personality.

Lily was also asked to take part in the Scottish celebrations of the NHS 60th Anniversary by taking to the stage at a prestigious ceremony and talking to news presenter Jackie Bird about her experiences as a nurse.

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