How to Stay in the Physical Therapy Profession Longer
From Retiree to Luna Physical Therapist: One Inspiring Story
By Lily Beltran
According to data from the United States Census Bureau, there are more women over 50 in the United States than at any other time in history. Thanks to a “demographic revolution,” this group is happier, healthier, and more affluent than ever before. One side effect of all this goodness? Longer careers. Nearly a third of women aged 65 to 69 (and 18 percent of women aged 70 to 74) are still working, a major jump from previous generations.
At Luna, we are in a unique position to support the specific needs of this demographic of physical therapists. Whether they are transitioning out of their full-time jobs and want to secure additional income, or have already retired but love the profession and desire to continue working on their own terms, we welcome physical therapists from all walks of life. Here’s the inspiring story of one of the female therapists working with Luna to live her golden years to the fullest.
Meet Elaine. She’s a 68-year-old retiree living the dream in the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating from the University of California San Francisco, Elaine started practicing physical therapy in 1974 and spent the next 45 years enjoying a fulfilling career. From acute to neuro, hospital to home health, Elaine has worked in a variety of settings, but her main focus is in outpatient orthopedics. The latest addition to her resume? Luna.
Last year, Elaine retired from her job of 25 years at Saint Mary’s Medical Center. She quickly realized that she still wanted to be a part of the field and started searching for part-time PT positions. Lucky for us, she found Luna. “It was a blessing that Luna fell into my life,” says Elaine. “I retired last year, but I never stopped loving the profession, and Luna has given me an opportunity to keep working on my terms.”
As a recreation and travel lover, Elaine takes full advantage of the flexible lifestyle Luna affords her. “I just got back from Portland taking continuing education,” says Elaine. “I also kayak internationally, ride horses, and hike.” According to Elaine, she’s worked hard to get to this incredible place in her life. Luna allows her to enjoy what she loves, take good care of her health, maintain a well-balanced lifestyle, and fulfill her strong desire to take care of others.
Elaine’s favorite part of working with Luna? The ability to serve autonomously and work according to her own schedule. She provides care through Luna every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm and sees about six to eight patients a week. “I have retirement pay, but Luna provides me with great additional income that I use to continue to support my kids and fund my travels.”
While she loves providing quality care to her local community, Elaine’s influence expands far beyond the Bay Area. She serves as a volunteer with Operation Rainbow, a nonprofit focusing on orthopedic surgical intervention in developing countries, and uses her vast PT experience to help those in need. She served in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010 and also traveled to Africa and Peru. “I’m actually leaving in a few weeks for a medical mission in Honduras and Ecuador,” says Elaine.
Elaine appreciates Luna’s dedication to taking care of physical therapists. “It’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever felt that people really valued PTs and wanted to take good care of us. They are great listeners and always sensitive to my needs. I also love how Luna is always keeping me on the cutting edge. They’re always evolving, always changing. It makes me evolve and change as well. It’s very exciting to be a part of.”
We are so inspired by Elaine’s drive and dedication to living her best life post-retirement. With Luna, Elaine found a way to continue pursuing her professional passions while enjoying the freedom to focus on the activities she loves and the people who matter to her most.