Kansas resident 102 still working 32 hours a week!
Reports indicate that seniors are putting off retirement and working longer, but Loren Wade has most of us beat, hands down. At 102, he is one of the nation’s oldest workers and was recognized in 2012 by Experience Works as the National Outstanding Oldest Worker.
His latest job is at the Walmart in Winfield, Kan., where he has been employed for more than 30 years, but his working career goes back 90 years, starting with pulling weeds at a local nursery at age 12. You could say that Wade knows the meaning of hard work. After high school graduation, he made iron and aluminum castings, followed by a job at a garage, where he earned $12 for a 60-hour work week until the Depression hit. After that, he drove a truck, was an usher at a movie theater and worked for the Railway Express delivery service, a stint that was interrupted by 43 months in the Air Force where he served in India and China. After he returned, he started his own business laying carpet, sanding floors and installing ceramic tile and then worked for the U.S. Postal Service.
In 1983 he retired from his mail carrier job, but Wade is not one to sit around. At Walmart, he works 32 hours a week doing everything from stocking the shelves and running the cash register to changing merchandise displays and helping customers. He estimates he walks two or three miles a day doing his job.
A store manager describes him with a version of Newton’s Law as “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” When people ask him why he’s lived so long, he says, “I think it is because I keep active. I enjoy meeting people and talking with people. It’s just so boring to sit around the house and do nothing, and then I go to sleep instead of getting out and working” (as told to Larry Hatteberg).
“He can still outdo most of us here, half his age,” says the same store manager. Even though Wade, who was born in 1912, serves as a role model for many people, he doesn’t take it too seriously. “Your age is just a number, it doesn’t really mean that you’re that old. I feel as good as I did when I was 80.”
“It’s a job that I have to get up every morning to be here,” he says. “After I get here, it is enjoyable.”
Wade gets enjoyment from other things besides work. He and his wife of 67 years have traveled to almost every state in the country, and he has played the saxophone and other instruments in a local band for nearly 80 years.
Wade has no plans to retire, although he admitted toCNN that “These 50 pound bags of dog food are getting pretty heavy.”
But work, he says, “keeps me occupied.”
Reprinted by Always Best Care Senior Services with permission from Senior Spirit, the newsletter of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors The Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) program provides the advanced knowledge and practical tools to serve seniors at the highest level possible while providing recipients a powerful credential that increases their competitive advantage over other professionals. The CSA works closely with Always Best Care Senior Services to help ABC business owners understand how to build effective relationships with seniors based on a broad-based knowledge of the health, social and financial issues that are important to seniors, and the dynamics of how these factors work together in seniors’ lives. To be a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) means one willingly accepts and vigilantly upholds the standards in the CSA Code of Professional Responsibility. These standards define the behavior that we owe to seniors, to ourselves, and to our fellow CSAs. The reputation built over the years by the hard work and high standards of CSAs flows to everyone who adds the designation to their name. For more information, visit www.society-csa.com
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