There are hundreds, if not thousands of programs and companies across the U.S. that have honored the older population with everything from perks, discounts, special services, and even unique employment programs and training for seniors. Never before in American history has the population of older adults outgrown the population of youth. However, that is what the projections indicate will occur by the year 2035, which means 1 in every 5 residents will be of retirement age.
With this growth currently in progress, and although the idea of the senior discount originated many decades ago and seniors today are better off financially than ever before, there are companies who still generously honor our nation's older generations.
The most valuable form of generosity toward seniors today and in the decades to come will be in the form of enabling seniors to enjoy a quality of life while earning an income in their later years. Discounts, specials and perks are valuable to seniors, as well as good jobs, supplemental income, benefits and unique retirement programs.
With this in mind, below we've compiled a list highlighting America's best companies for seniors:
Airbnb - San Francisco, California
A lucrative, interesting and fun way for seniors to earn income is the sharing economy -- assets or services are shared between individuals, for a fee, typically by means of the Internet. Becoming a vacation rental host via Airbnb is a popular way to earn easy income.
Those over the age of 60 are the most beloved hosts on Airbnb, receiving better reviews than any other age group, according to the website. In 2018 there were over 400,000 senior hosts on Airbnb, and those over the age of 60 who have booked an Airbnb when traveling grew by 66 percent from the year prior. Hosts can rent out their entire home or individual guest rooms.
Albuquerque resident Guy, age 66, single and retired, has been renting out rooms for several years, as an Airbnb Superhost, "I have a good size home for just me, so I find sharing my home and welcoming guests to my city is rewarding." He adds, "Aside from an easy extra income, it has been great meeting people and making new friends from all walks of life -- I've had Olympic class runners from France, a prominent medical family from India, couples from Australia, China, and coast to coast of the U.S.!"
Kelly Services - Troy, Michigan
A strategy that more and more companies across the country are beginning to recognize as a valuable business model is one offering temporary or transitional work plans for workers of retiring age. Whether a millennial or a baby boomer, it is smart to seek an employer offering a transitional plan such as this. Kelly Services formed a pool of temporary employees in 2004 made up of previously full-time employees with branch field office skills. They support branches around the U.S. in need of temporary assistance. The employees enjoy the flexibility of choosing a variety of assignments, duration and location. In turn, this benefits the branches, which have instant access to fully trained staff.
Kelly currently has more than 50,000 workers (age 50 and over) available for temporary work. Kelly specifically developed this program with the clear purpose of targeting retiree pools and offering flexible opportunities for them to remain in the workforce. For a successful phased retirement program, Kelly has found it is helpful if companies modify their pension programs so that employee benefits are not impacted through continued employment.
Southwest Airlines - Dallas, Texas
Chris Mainz, Southwest Spokesperson says, "It's always been important to us to offer senior fares, which are really conducive for our customers 65 and over who value more flexibility and are budget conscious. These fares have proven to be popular over the years, and they are just another example of how Southwest Airlines makes travel accessible and affordable for all--including and especially this important demographic."
Fares are subject to change until tickets are purchased, but Senior Fares are always refundable. Reservations for Senior Fares are available for both domestic and international flights. Senior Fares apply only to those in the traveling party who are age 65 or over.
Lyft - San Francisco, California
Rideshare company Lyft has a lot to offer seniors both as riders and as drivers. One of the perks of contract work is that flexible hours are the pinnacle of its appeal, particularly for seniors when they consider the hours they might want to take on. For seniors who enjoy meeting a variety of people and don't mind driving for a few hours or more each day, or week, Lyft might be the perfect fit.
At Lyft, seniors essentially set their own schedule and choose when to drive, while getting paid. Drivers get paid per ride and can also receive tips from riders via the Lyft app. In addition, there are weekly bonuses for driving during high-demand hours. Newer vehicles are required to drive, and a car rental program for drivers is also offered. There is no cost to sign up, but a recent clean driving record is required. Lou, a retired executive driving for Lyft in Baltimore says, "I am serving a purpose and I'm happy to be part of my community."
Acknowledging the fact that over a quarter of Americans age 65 and older don't own smartphones and transportation limitations can have a negative impact on the independence and self-confidence of older adults, Lyft saw this as an opportunity. In 2016, Lyft introduced Lyft Concierge, a third-party web request tool that partners with senior care communities, nonprofit groups, and home care providers nationwide to provide fast and safe transportation for seniors in the community.
Amazon Prime - Seattle, Washington
A little known fact is that Medicaid cardholders get a discount on an Amazon Prime Membership. At a savings of nearly $50 off the regular annual Prime Membership costs, members receive free 2-day shipping on over 100 million items, exclusive shopping deals, and discounts on various essentials.
It is a convenient service for seniors to receive deliveries right on their doorstep. In addition, discounts at local Whole Foods stores are offered for Prime members. Members also get access to thousands of movies, TV shows, and music to stream online, to a TV App, or to download for offline viewing, plus unlimited access to over a thousand top Kindle books, and more!
Rover - Seattle, Washington
Another non-traditional, independent role where seniors can earn a little or a lot of income and stay active in their golden years is the ever growing pet care industry. For those who enjoy animals, staying active and the outdoors, becoming an independent contractor with Rover.com is a win-win-win for pet owners, seniors and animals. "Picking up a flexible, at-home side gig, like dog sitting or walking, can be a great way for retirees to earn supplemental income - and keep their savings in tact," said Kristin Sandberg, Rover's Dog Lifestyle Expert. "Plus, 'working' with dogs is the perfect way to stay active and it has proven to reduce stress and anxiety. For those looking for a fun source of income that won't feel like you've abandoned your retirement, Rover could be a great option."
There is a range of ways that older adults can make an income on Rover: overnight dog boarding or daycare in their (senior sitter) home, pet sitting visits or overnights in the client's home, dog walks, and dog grooming. Seniors can maintain a flexible schedule and pick and choose their clients while earning an income and enjoying the company of animals, and perhaps getting regular low-impact exercise on dog walks. Getting paid to exercise at any age is a bonus.
Aerospace Corporation - El Segundo, California
A Phased Retirement Plan is a blanket term for a program offering the flexibility to older employees to reduce hours worked over time, while still being part of team that is in need of their years of experience and skills. It is a win-win strategy implemented by employers to help retain highly experienced older workers, while offering them an abbreviated schedule more aligned with their needs at later stages of their career.
The Aerospace Corporation based in El Segundo, California, has provided research, development, and advisory services to national security space programs since 1960. As a rare perk, it offers programs to enable employees to begin a gradual retirement process. These programs allow the company to continue to benefit from the accumulated experience and skills of those retiring. Employees have the option of working part time or taking a sabbatical before retirement.
Since 1985, Aerospace has rehired retirees to work up to 20 hours a week, or on a temporary basis. This allows employees to transition out of the workplace while collecting full benefits. The casual retiree can work up to 1,000 hours per year. The company estimates that there are up to 250 of these employees ranging in age from 62 to 90.
National Park Service - Washington, DC
For seniors who wish to stay active and make a positive contribution to society, the National Park Service is a good way to earn an income and get involved. Seniors can make a difference by bringing their unique experience, and perspective to work in more than 400 national parks and offices across the country. NPS offers full-time, part-time and seasonal ranger jobs throughout the year.
Sharon Gallinger, age 65, a former teacher, was encouraged to apply for a Park Ranger position because she already enjoyed volunteering with the National Park Service in Guam as an educator for students in the community. "The flexibility, the knowledge I've gained, and outdoor setting is a nice change from a formal classroom setting." Sharon says.
There are more than 20,000 people working with the NPS nationwide, not to mention even more volunteer opportunities.
Kohl's - Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Everyone loves a good discount, and one such company that is generous to seniors in particular, is Kohl's. If you visit a Kohl's store on a Wednesday, you might notice more older shoppers browsing for deals. That is because Kohl's offers customers aged 60 and over a special 15 percent discount every Wednesday in-store. This provides a nice mid-week shopping break to beat the crowds and get some special just-for-seniors deals.
To take advantage of the discount, seniors must show a valid identification to verify age. The offer cannot be added in conjunction with any other percent-off discounts and is not valid on all merchandise or brands. However, dollar-off discounts, including Kohl's Cash® coupons, Yes2You Rewards® and Promotional Gifts, will be applied prior to percent-off total purchase discounts/coupons. You can visit Kohls.com/exclusions for more information.
Young Living Oils - Lehi, Utah
Garnering favorable company reviews on Glassdoor.com, working as an independent Young Living Oils Distributor can be a perfect fit for seniors who wish to be part of the growing independent contractor market. Mounting research indicates that essential oils can be therapeutic and beneficial for wellness. Endorsed by celebrities and athletes, Young Living Oils was established in 1993 and will grow into what is projected to be an 11.6 billion dollar company by the year 2022.
Older adults can be distributors for the multi-level-marketing brand while reaping the rewards -- free and discounted product in addition to unlimited earning potential. It is a great way for seniors to use their own existing networks to build their business and also keep in touch with friends who like access to the wellness benefits of essential oils or who might enjoy becoming distributors themselves. Young Living's compensation plan provides a strategy to help seniors build their businesses, add others to their team, lead and grow.
T-Mobile - Bellevue, Washington
Another company that has some special offerings for the older crowd is T-Mobile. Claiming to be America's fastest unlimited network for mobile phone service, and they offer a sweet deal specifically for customers ages 55 and older.
Whether it is for staying in touch with kids, grand kids or old work buddies, seniors can get two lines of T-Mobile ONE for the rate of 70 dollars per month total (when signed up for monthly AutoPay service), and with taxes and fees included. This includes unlimited domestic phone calls, texting, and 4G smartphone data along with other T-Mobile ONE plan benefits. For Unlimited 55+ plan, only the primary account holder must provide proof of age, and for single seniors, the same plan starts at 50 dollars per month.
Regal Theaters - Knoxville, Tennessee
Making the movie experience even more enjoyable for the needs of the older population, Regal Theaters seems to really welcome seniors. A subsidiary of the Cineworld Group, Regal operates one of the largest and most geographically diverse theater circuits in the U.S., consisting of 558 theaters in nearly all states. Recognizing that a positive movie experience can be had by all, including older viewers, Regal offers a 20 percent discount to seniors.
As an added perk, in many theaters there are comfy recliners and even special glasses and headsets available for guests who are hard of hearing or have low vision. From their website, "We believe that the size, reach and quality of the Company's theater circuit provides its patrons with a convenient and enjoyable movie-going experience. We are committed to being 'The Best Place to Watch a Movie!'"
Etsy - Brooklyn, New York
Recent statistics indicate that 41 percent of employed people 65 and older and 23 percent of those ages 55 through 64 are either self-employed or working as independent contractors. One way seniors can work for themselves is by selling wares online, to buyers all over the globe. Etsy, launched in 2005, is a worldwide online marketplace that specializes in handmade goods, gifts, vintage items, accessories, jewelry, art and collectibles, clothing, beauty, housewares, and more.
There are fees to list items on the site, but Etsy is a robust platform and makes the experience easy for buyers and sellers as indicated by the 1 billion in sales in 2017. There are many Etsy tools to help sellers, and support teams are encouraged. For seniors with vintage or collectible items they want to part with or for those who enjoy spending their days on arts and crafts and want to offer them to the world, Etsy can be a lucrative place to earn easy income from the comfort of home.
All City Management Services (ACMS) - Santa Fe Springs, California
You see them in the streets in real life and in movies -- the older jolly crossing guard, a role that seems to be a good fit for older workers in particular. A cliché not far from reality according to Data USA, which found the average age for School Crossing Guards is 55, which is older than the average age for most jobs. When you think about the nature of the job and the easy schedule, it makes perfect sense.
All City Management Services (ACMS) headquartered in California, is the largest private employer of School Crossing Guards in the nation. It is a rewarding part-time job and often guards live in the same communities as they work and become well-known in the neighborhood they serve. Seniors can get hired as a regular guard or a temporary guard. The role is great for older adults who enjoy the outdoors and the company of children.
HoneyBaked Ham - Alpharetta, Georgia
One of over 800 members of the AARP Employer Pledge Program, the HoneyBaked Ham Company is committed to leveraging workers of all ages. The company recognizes the value of older workers and offers a range of full-time, part-time and permanent seasonal positions -- perfect options for seniors. Keeping busy around the holidays each year might be a welcome schedule for a senior who may be far from family and wanting to make friends or combat loneliness.
In addition to an inviting workplace, senior employees can enjoy discounts on the delicious food at HoneyBaked Ham. A 401K plan is offered for some positions and employees have access to the HoneyBaked Ham Employee Assistance Relief Team (H.E.A.R.T) which is a fund that offers a way for HBH associates to support their fellow team members who are affected by a natural disaster and in need of immediate need of basic necessities. HoneyBaked is over 50 years old and still family run.
Spectrum Cable Internet - Stamford, Connecticut
A discount which enables and encourages seniors to stay connected to the world around them is how Spectrum Cable honors seniors in the community. Internet is essential for both young and old, in this day and age and Spectrum is proud to be the fastest-growing Internet, TV and Voice company in the U.S.
Spectrum believes everyone should have access to reliable, high-speed Internet, seniors included. Spectrum Internet TM Assist is high-speed Internet at an affordable price. To qualify, one member of the household must be a recipient of the Supplemental Security Income program and be aged 65 or older. For those who qualify, Spectrum offers high-speed internet with no data caps, an internet modem, no contracts required and the option to add in-home WiFi for 5 dollars more per month.
Upwork - Mountain View, California
According to a recent report by Intuit, traditional full-time jobs with benefits will be harder to find in the future. It is estimated that the number of contract workers will exceed 40 percent of the workforce by the year 2020. It is no wonder that many companies all over the world turn to Upwork to find independent contractors, or freelancers.
A computer and a profile is all one needs to begin working through Upwork, a marketplace bringing companies and freelancers together. Seniors (or anyone) can find work as an interpreter, virtual assistant, bookkeeper or financial expert, writer or editor, customer service, online tutor, and more.
There is no cost to begin and the perks are plenty: flexible set-your-own-hours schedule, work as little or as much as desired, choose which projects to apply for or clients to work with, set your own salary rate and adjust as needed when applying for new projects, and business expenses are a deduction since those working through Upwork are considered independent contractors.
McDonald's - Chicago, Illinois
The Golden Arches is a great place to spend the Golden Years -- as a customer getting senior discounts on drinks and daily coffee, or as a respected older employee. Garnering a perfect score on the Annual Corporate Equality Index conducted by the Human Rights Campaign, and a member of the AARP Employer Pledge Program which affirms the value of experienced workers, McDonald's and its franchisees are committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce for all.
Recognized as a top 40 company for diversity and inclusion by Black Enterprise Magazine and as a top 50 employer for Latinos by Latina style magazine, McDonalds is also inclusive of workers at any stage in their career. Offering flexible schedules, a fully vested 401k plan (including any amounts that are rolled over into the plan), health benefits, and McDPerks for employees which includes saving on groceries, movie tickets and other discounts at participating restaurants.
H&R Block - Kansas City, Missouri
Another company committed to developing a diverse, high-performing organization by leveraging workers of all ages is H&R Block, a part of the AARP Employer Pledge Program. In business for over 60 years, H&R Block has grown into the world's leader in tax preparation services.
The First Year Tax Professional position is a perfect role for retirees who want income and who desire schedule flexibility for most of the work year. H&R block offers advanced training, competitive pay, and a flexible schedule among other benefits. It is a perfect role for a retired accountant or financial clerk, or for a retiree who wants to learn a new skill, be part of a team, and engage daily with a diverse clientele.
Orkin - Atlanta, Georgia
Being a company inclusive of employees of all ages can affect future business success as the number of older citizens continue to rise to record levels. Orkin recognizes the need for staff diversity, now and in the future. Its parent company, Rollins, was named a 2017 and 2018 Top Workplace by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and for good reason. Orkin pest control is in a recession-proof industry and has great opportunities for those at any stage of life, including seniors.
No matter the level of experience, the Rollins Learning Center offers paid hands-on-training of Orkin employees in several simulated environments. These environments include a termite pavilion, and residential and commercial settings. Offering flexible scheduling and a full benefits package complete with 401K matching, Orkin believes employee diversity brings more experience, knowledge and success to its business.