ST. PETE BEACH, Florida— It’s 9:00 on St. Pete Beach and the line of customers is practically out the door at Larry’s Ice Cream on Gulf Boulevard.
In business for 31 years, the popular ice cream spot has employed generations of high school kids, but there’s one person who’s always here.
“People still come in and say are you still making the waffles,” joked owner Dore Herman who admits she could have retired years ago, but instead chose to continue working.
“I can’t retire because I love it,” said Herman. “And I love going to work.”
Dore doesn’t just work part time. She’s at the shop 7 days a week, 11-12 hours a day and says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s a long day for anyone, but especially if you’re 80 years old,” said Herman.
Experts say seniors are continuing to work into their retirement years for a variety of reasons. Some remain in the workforce out of financial necessity, others to keep their health insurance benefits.
But many, like Dore, say coming to work gives them a sense of purpose.
“I think that’s given me an extra number of years,” said Herman. “Seeing people I haven’t seen in years, they come looking for me.”
“People who are more socially active, who are more active at work, do better. They have a lower risk of getting dementia and losing their cognitive function,” said professor of neurology Dr. William Jagust of UC Berkeley.
He warns though working into retirement may only be beneficial to seniors who truly LOVE their job.
“If work is stressful and you no longer have to do it I think it would be foolish to keep going just because you think it’s going to make you better somehow,” said Dr. Jagust.
As for Dore, she refuses to slow down at all.
“I’m hoping I can be here another 31 years.”