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Older Workers

Older Workers
"""Why should a workplace consider issues with older employees?

Longer life expectancy, low birth rates, and the aging of the ""baby boomers"" are all contributing factors in Canada's population aging. The age distribution of the workforce and the number of retired people are both impacted by these statistics. According to Statistics Canada (2019), between 1996 and 2018: The proportion of Canadian workers aged 55 and older rose from 10% to 21% of the workforce. Near parity exists between older (55 and over) and younger (25 to 34) workers. All vocations are being impacted by an aging workforce, however the rate and intensity of aging vary by industry. Older workers are increasingly more likely to work part-time or in other flexible ways.

Who is a worker who is deemed to be older?

The precise age at which a person is regarded as an older worker is not one that is universally accepted. The majority of investigations have concentrated on adults over the age of 55, although other studies have looked at those aged 45 or older or those aged 65 or older.

Do older employees require any accommodations?

No and yes. All employees benefit from a well-designed workplace. The greatest workstations and jobs are always those that are tailored to the needs of the specific employee. To address the needs of any worker, not just an older worker, different circumstances for different workers may be required. Having said that, there are a few things that older workers may require in order to work comfortably and safely.

Exist any particular health and safety issues regarding aging workers?

A few. According to numerous studies, older workers often sustain fewer occupational injuries, but when they do, it may take them longer to recover. The repetition of the same actions at work leads to numerous injuries. For instance, repetitive motion injuries progressively worsen. Since the condition has had more time to develop, an older worker may report more musculoskeletal injuries. No of the worker's age, there is a risk of harm if the physical requirements of the job are above their capacity. It's crucial to have a return-to-work program and to make acceptable modifications to the job or workstation to make it as safe as possible for older workers, who frequently need more time to recuperate after an injury. Additionally, workplaces should be mindful of the lengthy latent period of occupational disorders brought on by prolonged (chronic) exposure to risky goods like asbestos, silica, or noise. After being exposed to the dangerous product for many years, the occupational sickness may still manifest. Examples of occupational diseases with a long latency period include mesothelioma and asbestosis, which can afflict older employees who were exposed to asbestos earlier in their careers. Employers must therefore manage employee exposure to dangerous drugs at all times.

Exist any worries regarding the productivity of senior employees?

In general, research show that older people are more devoted to their jobs and have lower turnover rates. Even though it lasts longer whether it's caused by an injury or a long-term sickness, absences are becoming less common. Studies have not consistently demonstrated a link between advancing years and job performance. Poor work performance is typically caused by a lack of support, a sense that their efforts aren't valued, problems getting along with managers, and high levels of work stress. It's vital to keep in mind that these circumstances, which could result in subpar work performance, can occur at any age.

What general physical changes take place with age... and how might this impact a person's job?

As we get older, our bodies change gradually. Everyone experiences the aging process, though not always at the same rate. Among the changes that take place as we age are: Strength of muscles and range of motion in joints Between the ages of 30 and 60, persons typically lose 15 to 20% of their strength. At any age, there is a wide range between people because every person is unique. The fact that most jobs don't demand people to employ all of their strength must also be taken into account. While older workers could be capable of performing the same activities as younger workers, they might be exerting themselves more. Over time, the musculoskeletal system becomes weaker, which reduces its ability to carry out load-bearing work. Keep in mind that certain motions, such as repeating the same thing repeatedly, can lead to physical issues at any age. The body loses some ""range of motion"" and flexibility as we become older. At one task or workstation, people could be accustomed to a given range of movements. Having reduced range of motion or flexibility could be problematic in some unanticipated circumstances that call for uncommon motions. respiratory and cardiovascular systems: Oxygen-carrying capacity of the heart, lungs, and circulatory system declines. The functional breathing capacity can decline by 40% between ages 30 and 65. These alterations may make it harder to do prolonged, strenuous physical labor and may make it harder for the body to adapt to hot and cold environments. Posture and balance control: In general, people may find it more difficult to keep their balance and posture correct. When seated or standing still, this may not be a problem. However, incidents may happen because someone loses their balance. Work that requires precise adjustments, strong muscular effort (including lifting and carrying), joint movements at extreme angles, or those done on a slippery or unstable surface will be affected by poorer posture. Sleep Regulation: As we age, our body is not able to regulate sleep as well as it used to. How long a person sleeps, and how well they sleep, can additionally be disrupted by changing work hours or by light and noise. The impact on workers is especially a concern for older shift or night workers. Use of shift rotations that are the least disruptive to sleep patterns are preferred. Thermoregulation (Body Temperature): Our bodies are less able to maintain internal temperatures as well as less able to adjust to changes in external temperature or due to physical activity. This change means that older workers may find heat or cold more difficult to deal with than when they were younger. Vision: Vision changes with age. We will notice we cannot see or read from certain distances as well as we used to. This reduction in the """"amplitude of accommodation"""" (the ability to see or adjust focus in certain distance ranges) is normal and is usually corrected with prescription glasses. Changes also occur in the peripheral visual field (how well you can see in the areas to the side of you, that you're not directly looking at), visual acuity (how exact, clear, and """"unfuzzy"""" things appear), depth perception (how far away things seem), and resistance to glare, and light transmission. These changes are normally not noticed by a person unless there is poor lighting or there are sources of glare. Someone might also notice that they can't see as well when they're reading something when text size is small, or when there is poor contrast between the text and the background. Adequate lighting (that is suitable for the task) should be provided. Shadows and glare should be reduced to a minimum. Well laid-out documents which avoid small print are also important. Auditory (Hearing): Hearing also changes. We may not be able to hear as well at higher frequencies (high pitch sounds). Most often, this change is noticed as the inability to listen to a particular voice or sound in a noisy environment. As well, people who work with a lot of background noise may have difficulty hearing verbal instructions.

What changes occur with learning or cognitive functions?

Changes in mental capacity also occur as a person ages. Older people may not think as quickly and clearly as they once did. Also, it may take longer to learn new skills. Much of the research on cognitive functioning (how people think and how quickly they do it) has been done in laboratory settings. As a result, there is information available on how individuals score on specific tests or tasks. However, there has been little testing to see how these results apply in the """"real world"""". In particular, at work people naturally develop different habits to match or suit their learning and working styles. Generally speaking, fluid intelligence (such as inductive reasoning, selective attention, 'dual-task' activities, and information processing) declines with age, while verbal tasks and vocabulary (talking and expressing themselves) remain constant or improve. Tasks that depend on short-term memory usually take longer. Older workers tend to use experience and expertise when working and may find it hard to work with complex or confusing stimuli. This factors means they might find it hard to do tasks in which they have to do (or think) a lot of different things quickly or at one time. They may also find it tricky to work in a busy environment where lots is going on. They may be less able to focus attention only on information relevant to the task at hand, especially in """"new"""" situations. This factor means that there may be so much going on in new situations that they aren't sure what to prioritize, what to pay attention to, and what to ignore.

Are training requirements different for older workers?

Training requirements may be different for older workers. Since learning is based on previous experience, training may need to be more """"practically"""" based. New skills need to be explained in a way that fits into what they already know. Justification and the logic behind the information – why you're doing what you're doing – are more important. Training may take longer than with younger workers. There may also be a need for more assistance or practice. However, several studies show that there may not be a difference in how well someone works once the learning curve has been reached. Everyone, at every age, thinks and learns differently. These cognitive functions – how someone learns and thinks – are very dependent on the individual, and the experiences they have had during their lifetime. People who have had a lot of training or education over their lifetime, or who have had to carry out a variety of tasks, are experienced learners. They are typically able to learn new skills well and improve the ones they have with ease. People who may be more resistant to learning as an older adult include those who have little formal training or who have carried out relatively simple or repetitive tasks for many years. They are used to doing the same thing, the same way, and may find it hard to take in new information or ways of doing things.

How can a workplace help?

Long-term health issues increase with age. At the same time, mental and physical fitness are closely linked. Workplaces can help by providing a safe work environment that reduces the chance of injury or occupational illness. These steps include, for example, having equipment in good working condition, training, safe work procedures, low chemical and hazard exposure, supportive management styles, risk assessments that take into account aging factors, etc. Workplaces can also help by having workplace health promotion initiatives (active living, healthy eating, stress awareness, violence prevention programs, etc.). Workplace controls can reduce exposure to hazardous substances. Follow legislative requirements in your jurisdiction and ensure that occupational exposure limits are not exceeded. Use hierarchy of control measures to eliminate or reduce exposures."""
 

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"Older Workers" was written by Mary under the Health category. It has been read 32 times and generated 0 comments. The article was created on and updated on 23 November 2022.
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