A working person’s career does not have to end at age 65. Professor Linda Hunt proves this throughout her recently published book, “Work and the Older Person: Increasing Longevity and Well-Being.”
As a Professor at the School of Occupational Therapy, and Director of the Graduate Certificate of Gerontology, Hunt has developed a passion for the well-being of people. In her book, she encouraging workers to not minimize their value as an employee or a volunteer simply because they’re no longer in their 40s.
“The focus of the book is how working past retirement age may contribute to wellness and the idea of staying engaged in the community society through volunteer work or through employment really helps you stay physically active and helps your mind become stimulated,” Hunt said. “There is also the social connection which is very important to older adults living higher quality of life.”
Hunt edited her book in collaboration with the York St. John University professor Caroline Wolferson.
Starting from the proposal approval, both Hunt and Wolferson spent the next two years editing the final chapters.
Hunt didn’t base the book off of scientific research. Each chapter is based on an interview from an older person in the working force, and what they believe to be the benefits of continuing to work.
“All of these narratives and themes in each chapter show how people believe that as long as they continue to work, they feel purposeful, they feel like they’re contributing to something greater than themselves.” Hunt said. “That gave me a lot of satisfaction to hear that.”
She finds inspiration from memories of her mother, Bess Fine, who worked until she was seventy, when a battle with lung cancer made her retire. Even after surviving and recuperating from her lung surgery, she chose to volunteer. Hunt’s book holds a dedication to her mother in the beginning pages.
“I saw her applying for jobs, getting those jobs, advancing in her career,” Hunt said. “The funny thing is, she worked for Missouri job service, and she got jobs for other people. So she was constantly coming home telling me about success stories. That was part of the inspiration for me as well, and as my brother and I grew up, had a good quality of life through her working.”
While some chapters allowed Hunt to write freely, there were some challenges that happened with the book proposal and the actual publication.
“I think that the hardest part was editing other people’s chapters,” Hunt said. “I do like to edit other chapters, but toward the end it got to point of ‘Oh my gosh, can’t we just be done with this?’ First I edit it, and then the editors of the publishing companies edit it, and send it back to me and you just think ‘Oh is it ever going to get done?’. But it did, and it’s a wonderful feeling.”