Published On: Thursday, 24 May 2018

Keeping the Aging Workforce Healthy

Keeping the Aging Workforce Healthy

HUMAN RESOURCES - 

In May, we celebrated North American Occupational Safety and Health Week which has the goal of educating the public on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, home and community. To continue this important discussion, I spoke with Dr. Ken Adams from Lighthouse Chiropractic about some of the ways that employers can promote the health of their employees.

What area do you think employers should be paying more attention to when it comes to health and safety in the workplace?

“An increasing percentage of our older population is continuing to work into what would be considered as retirement years. In fact, one recent study showed that a quarter of working Canadians surveyed expect to work beyond the age of 70. Employers should be mindful of the different health prevention strategies that accompany each generation.”

Why do you think people are choosing to work longer?

“There are many factors that contribute to this:

  • For many, there is a necessity to keep working longer than they originally planned. Retirement is expensive due to increased health care costs and overall costs of living, as well as a decline in traditional pension plans.
  • Older employees are more experienced and typically more productive than their younger counterparts. Employers are becoming more and more inclined to keep seasoned vets around for a few extra years.
  • Another category of older employee keeps working simply because he/she loves his/her job and sees work as a way to feel youthful, keep moving, and stay mentally sharp. Coming up on my 40th birthday this summer and being 13 years into my career, this is the category that I could easily see myself in when I enter my retirement years.”

What are the health consequences of these employees remaining in the workforce for longer?

“One major challenge with so many older folks occupying active roles in the workforce, is that they will be doing so while also trying to manage chronic and degenerative health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and arthritis. For example, arthritis - osteoarthritis (OA) in particular - has a serious impact on older workers. In the spine, OA happens in a predictable pattern, and its progression can be positively or negatively altered by a number of factors including (but not limited to) obesity, stress, physical exercise, nutrition, history of trauma or surgery, and posture.”  

What can employers do to support the older employees who are living with these conditions?

“In my experience, addressing posture has the most consistent impact in management and prevention of OA.  If you are an employer I strongly recommend bringing in a professional to teach your team specifically how to improve their posture. It will help the current generation of older employees, but it will also help the next generation to avoid a lot of the problems that our current working seniors are facing.”

For more information, join us and Dr. Ken Adams on June 22nd 9:30 am – 10:30 am for our Webinar or contact us at info@diversifiedrehab.ca.