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More older workers in crisis, facing pressures and layoffs

Posted at 5:31 PM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2019-07-09 21:44:36-04

The job market is getting tougher and older workers are staying unemployed longer.  

If you are 50 plus and get laid off, chances are you'll be out of work for much longer than younger people. It takes about 9 months compared with six months for younger workers.

One older worker waits each week for 13 of her former coworkers to arrive at an Oldsmar restaurant. They meet to support each other.

"It's harder to suddenly to come on the other end, where you're asking others for help," she said.

Their local manufacturing plant laid all them off five weeks ago. Nearly all those who lost their jobs are older than 50.

"You have to go through all the stages of grief for it," she said.

In just the last year, the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay has seen more than 12,000 calls to their 211 crisis line from people 45 to 65.  About 3,000 of those people had no health insurance, they said, and presumably, no job.

"You've always grown up with what are you going to be when you grow up? And now, you're not that any more," said Clara Reynolds of The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.

On top of job loss, The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay says older workers are facing more pressures than ever before. They are often caring for their own kids in college at the same time as their own parents.

When they face job loss, on top of those first pressures, Reynolds says many of them lose some of their closest friends they've known for years at work.

"Your best friends were always the people who worked with you," Reynolds said. "And so if they're still employed, you're in a different sphere."

In the last few years, there's been an alarming jump in suicides as well as drug and alcohol abuse among those 45 to 54 across the country.

"You can start to see that spiraling happen of depression, anxiety that can certainly lead to a case of severe depression that could lead to suicide," Reynolds said.

However older workers we spoke with are staying driven and positive even those this is the second time she's faced a layoff.

"I know that it is part of corporate life," she said. "And I can't change that it did happen. But I can work on changing the future."

She's volunteering, continuing to meet with contacts and looking because she knows she still has so much to offer.

Resources for older workers

AARP Life ReImagined Program

211 Crisis Hotline Help - Free resources 24/7