Martha well knows my morning ritual. So more often than not, a large coffee with four creams is already waiting when I reach the counter.

Like many fast-food workers, Martha is friendly and respectful. Unlike most, she doesn’t spend much time worrying about pimples, weekend plans or even the next job. Maybe the fact that she’s well into her seventh decade of life has something to do with it.

Martha represents a solution that fast-food restaurants are turning to: hiring older, even retired workers. Makes you wonder why senior living has been so slow on the uptake.

The attributes of older workers are well known. To name but a few, they are more likely to show up on time and less likely to quit; they take more pride in their work and generally use better judgment. In other words, they have the kinds of things most employers desperately need. And when is the last time you saw a person in her or his late 60s fail a drug test?

Plus, the Labor Department predicts that the workforce of people aged 65 to74 will increase by 4.5% in the next six years. You’d think that alone would resonate with the senior living sector.

Your community just might be a great fit for someone who is on Social Security and could use a few extra hours.

Yet many operators seem focused on pursuing “more desirable” employees who are less inclined to show up on time, commit to the job or even stick around.

We hear so much these days about how hard it is for senior living operators to find good help. The reality is that such assistance might be a lot closer than many realize.

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