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Pensioners Working Part-Time at a Co-Op

Video clip synopsis – Some people experience retiring like hitting a brick wall, finding it hard to live on such a dramatically reduced income. "Beehive" is a Seniors employment co-operative where pensioners can work to earn a few dollars without affecting their Social Security payments.
Year of production - 1983
Duration - 1min 54sec
Tags - ageing, communities, identity, job satisfaction, retirement, see all tags


Pensioners Working Part-Time at a Co-Op

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About the Video Clip


Pensioners Working Part-Time at a Co-Op is an excerpt from the film Hitting A Brick Wall (15 mins), an episode of the series Ageing in the New Age (7 × 15mins), produced in 1983.

Hitting A Brick Wall: For some people the act of retirement is an unexpected shock. How can one properly prepare? This program looks at several people who have approached retirement in different ways.

Ageing in the New Age: With an ageing population, the world is approaching a crisis and community debate is growing on the issues raised by ageing populations. Each program in this series of seven films deals with one of those issues: approaches to retirement, community support systems that foster independence, living on a pension, ways the elderly are still contributing to the community, the position of elders in different cultural traditions, the problem of dementia and managing financial investments. They are generally optimistic and uplifting programs, full of innovative ideas and inspiration.

Ageing in the New Age was produced by Film Australia with the assistance of AMP Society.

Curriculum Focus


Students have the opportunity to identify values that support social cohesion and consider the ways in which this can be undermined or strengthened by individual and collective action.

Students investigate ways in which non-government organisations can contribute to communities and influence government decisions.

Students develop skills to become involved in or influence representative groups in the school or community.

Students explore how media and ICT are used to present issues and influence opinion.

Background Information


Australia is an ageing society.

Australia’s population is ageing and in international terms it is ageing relatively fast. Twenty years ago, 9% of the Australian population or 1.3 million people were aged 65 years and over. By 1996 this had increased to 12% of the population or 2.2 million people and by 2016 this is projected to increase to 16% of the population or 3.5 million people.

The internal age structure of the older population is also changing quite significantly. In 1976, one in six older people was aged 80 and over, by 1996 it was one in five and by 2016 it is expected to be one in four. In the next twenty years, the number of people in Australia aged 80 will grow by 63% from 486,200 in 1996 to 794,500 by 2016.

Work is an important part of adult life. When the eight hour working day was introduced, it stated that the day was divided up into eight hours work, eight hours rest and eight hours recreation. Many people either work more than eight hours and/or sleep less than eight hours. The eight hours that should be devoted to 'play’ are often taken up with working, managing a household and caring for children, so that when they reach retirement, some people do not have the skills or networks to know how to 'play’.

For many people, their social network is based around work. When they retire that network is gone. They have no daily contact for social exchange and no prospect of future social functions. For people who have worked in a regular job for a number of years, maintaining a structure in their lives can be important. Volunteering work offers this structure and a way to feel that you are still a valued member of the community.

In this video clip, pensioners can work at a co-op without affecting their pension and at the same time this provides them with entertainment and activities.

Classroom Activities


1. Students carry out a survey in class of who is a ‘volunteer’, or who has a family member or friend who volunteers. Identify some local examples of voluntary activities. Discuss why people volunteer. Who benefits from volunteers? What qualities do people who vounteer need to have? Reflect what might happen in our community if we did not have volunteers. To what exetent can social cohesion or community values be strengthened by individual and/or collective community action?

2. Why might some ‘senior citizens’ consider volunteerism as a form of work that has real personal benefits for them? How important is work to our identity? Why is part-time work undertaken by young people a very important activity?

3. Using the video clip and other sources define ‘co-operative’ in the workplace context and explore what benefits a co-operative can bring to people in the workplace or in a community. How is the idea of a co-operative presented in this video clip?

4. Australia has an ageing society. In 1976, one in six older people was aged 80 and over, by 1996 it was one in five and by 2016 it is expected to be one in four. In the next twenty years, the number of people in Australia aged 80 will grow by 63% from 486,200 in 1996 to 794,500 by 2016. In small groups ask students to explore the social, economic and political ramifications of this shift in demographics in Australia. Ask students to reflect on how they feel, at this point in their life, about growing ‘old’.