Palm Beach Gardens, Fl., -- For 24 years, Yvette Furst, who lives at Devonshire at PGA National, an Erickson Living Retirement Community in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., has been a volunteer coordinator for the Eissey Campus Theater at Palm Beach State College—a role she has held not because she needs it, but because she loves it.
"Being creative is my life. I'm able to be creative here in my role, and being needed like that is a wonderful feeling," said Furst.
A graduate of Prospect Heights High School, a defunct art school in Brooklyn where she studied drama and art, Furst went on to study art at the Pratt Institute, work in fashion, and model.
In the 1980s, she moved to Palm Beach, Fla., where she entered the world of entertainment, working full time at the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theater.
Though many of her peers no longer work, Furst is part of a national demographic employment trend. Employment rates for older adults are the highest they've been in 55 years. Almost 19% of people 65 or older were working at least part time in the second quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. jobs report (June 2017).
What's more, a rapidly growing number of Americans are continuing to work beyond their sixty-fifth birthday according to PEW Research Center.
"For one thing, [working] keeps you young and viable," Furst says when asked why she does it past an age when most of her peers are retired. "It's very nice to feel that you're wanted and productive and that you can still answer questions that are vital to the industry."
In her role and with a lifetime of experience behind her, Furst acts as a diplomat for the theater, trains new volunteers, and coordinates with the theater director.
Responsibilities aside, though, she also enjoys the intergenerational interaction of working with young adults, the majority of volunteers.
"Being with younger people keeps you vital and alive. The people I work with are very young. It's nice to be treated as an equal," she says.
"I tell them it's my lifestyle," says Furst, who moved to Devonshire three years ago.
"There is no other place around that offers this type of lifestyle. There is always something to stimulate you. We have dancing and music at least three to four times a week, wonderful entertainment, and a phenomenal director of activities," she says. "When the opportunity came, I made the change [from another senior community]."
She says the maintenance-free lifestyle at Devonshire makes life easier, and it makes working easier, too.
"It's very easy because I don't have any obligations. I'm out of here by 9 a.m.," she says.
Executive Director Jim Wingardner says Furst is a role model in the way she chooses to pursue her passion. "Yvette brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to her job, which is a great benefit to the Eissey Campus Theater."
About Devonshire: Devonshire, one of 19 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 28-acre campus on the grounds of prestigious PGA National. The community is located in Palm Beach County and is home to more than 350 community members. Additional information about Devonshire can be found at DevonshirePGA.com.