John O'Connor illustration
McKnight’s Editorial Director John O’Connor
John O'Connor
John O’Connor

Most people don’t put on their dancing shoes when high inflation rolls around.

This usually unwelcome visitor eats away at savings, reduces buying power, drives up labor costs — and generally makes life more difficult.

Not that high inflation has been much of an issue for most of the past decade or so. The national inflation rate never exceeded 2.44% between 2012 and 2020. But last year, it suddenly spiked to 4.7%. For that, we can thank things like supply chain bottlenecks and a lot of pandemic relief money in circulation.

As much of a jolt as that was, things might just be getting started. By some estimates, we’re now in 8% or more territory. As they say in the counterfeit cheese business, that’s not Gouda.

But it’s a pretty bad cloud that doesn’t have some kind of silver lining. And it appears senior living operators might just catch a break. It goes by the name of unretirement.

You see, the mix of available jobs and rising inflation is luring many recent retirees back into the workplace. In fact, more than 3% of the employees who had been retired for a year were back at work in March, an analysis by Indeed Hiring revealed.

It’s no secret that a lot of people retired or otherwise walked away from their jobs during the pandemic. This was especially true for caregivers and others working in aging services-connected firms, such as senior living settings. But as the cost of living keeps ramping up, many are re-examining the wisdom of leaving, and they’re wondering whether it might make sense to put the work clothes back on.

So don’t be terribly surprised if some of your former employees decide to get back in the game. Chances are good they could use a little financial peace of mind. Chances are even better you could use their help.

John O’Connor is editorial director of McKnight’s Senior Living and its sister media brands, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, which focuses on skilled nursing, and McKnight’s Home Care. Read more of his columns here.