Tag Archives: Old age

Workplace Health And Demographics – Managing The Mix

officeNew times ahead: emerging workforce

During the years after the war, there was an increase in the number of babies born in the UK, hence the term ‘baby boom’. But populations rise and fall, and so do the demographics therein. Due to a fall in the number of births, the age of the country’s people as a whole is set to rise.

This increase in the number of older people brings with it a number of challenges in terms of public spending and already the default retirement age of 65 had been abolished. Those who can afford to can still retire whenever they like, of course, but it is envisaged that in the future people will work for a longer period of their life than they had previously.

And according to an ICM poll that was commissioned a couple of years ago, less than a third of the workforce has made ‘adequate’ provision for retirement, which suggests that the majority of people could be working beyond the age of 65.

Implications for business

The Equality Act of 2010 makes it clear that employees can’t be discriminated against because of the age they happen to be. Which in turn means that organisations will increasingly require to have policies in place to prevent it occurring in the areas of recruitment, pay, training and so on.

From a health perspective, it’s obviously the case that older employees will have different needs and requirements. According to the UK Government’s Health & Safety Executive there are differing patterns of absence between younger and older employees in general – older people having fewer instances of sick leave, but the absences being for a longer period of time.

One important factor for health is that – as we all know – healthy lifestyles mean better health overall in the long run. So encouraging a set of conditions that mean the young workforce of today have healthy habits will have a positive effect on the future of their health.

The holistic approach – managing the age mix

Regardless of what average age the workforce eventually becomes, there is likely to be increasing focus on health and wellbeing – since both of these now look unarguably to have positive effects on productivity.

Continually improving things like job design, mental health promotion, working practices and so on, should mean the health of the workforce will undoubtedly benefit. Group health insurance  is likely to become more often included as part of the employee benefits package, especially as when the population ages more strain is widely predicted to be put on the health service.

Technology in terms of medical procedures, treatments and diagnostics will likely also have an effect on the workforce – and in the last two decades sickness absence has decreased to a remarkable extent. If this trend continues, then the chances are that some of the health issues that can affect older employees will be lessened in effect.

Human longevity is on the increase. And as the island communities of Okinawa in Japan and Ikaria in Greece have shown us, people can live healthy and productive lives to an age that far surpasses even the life expectancy of previous generations.

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About the author: health blogger J. Jones writes on workplace wellbeing for a number of blogs, add her to your circles on Google+.



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How Learning Changes as We Age

If one thinks about the fact that a person matures with experience then we should be able to learn better as we age. However, that not the case since learning changes as we age and our capacity to grasp newer information and process the same in a quick manner also decreases with the passage of time. This can be mainly attributed to the fact that we become more susceptible to interference as we take on more responsibilities thereby hampering consolidation of new memory creation in our mind.

Changes in sleep patterns, increase in responsibilities, and different type of stresses play a crucial role in diverting the thought process thereby cluttering the mind in such a manner that it becomes difficult to focus on the learning part. That’s why older adults need to adopt different type of learning strategies so that they can counter the problems associated with such interferences and continue with their learning process. This would then help in allowing time for new information to settle in and widely space learning of different things by following a better learning schedule.

As children we are supposed to learn, that’s what our parents and teachers expect us to do. We tend to build our learning over the years from being a wide eyed baby to someone who talks like a genius and does things that would have been otherwise impossible to comprehend as a child. That’s how we tend to mould our mind to learn new things and grasp newer concepts as we grow up thereby allowing us to work on the area of our choice as we enter adulthood.

However, the question is to what extent does our learning change as we move from being a child to a teenager and finally an adult. It is true that our minds also change as we age. Due to this reason the loss of mental function is one of the most feared aspects of aging in adults. The inability to process information quickly or lack of interest associated with learning also tends to wear down our quality of life. This is because we start to believe that our mind has started to slow down with our age. The truth is that such fears about our learning as we age stands groundless due to many different reasons.

One has to understand that the ability to learn for a person is not just limited to certain duration of their life. In fact only our learning patterns change as we age. There is no change in our ability to learn unless we show lack of interest in the process itself. As children we do not need to worry about lot many things in life. That gives us an advantage in the sense that our focus is clearly fixed on the learning process. Our brain also tends to develop as we age allowing us to grasp information in a better manner as we age. However, as we get older there is a need to bring in more discipline in learning activity since more effort and time is required in a dedicated manner.

Learning changes as we grow older because then we tend to avoid learning things that does not make sense or appear rewarding to us. The reason being that we value time and money more than the need to learn things and develop our knowledge in broader terms. For older people learning is limited to certain task based activities that keeps the body fit while avoiding putting too much stress on the brain. This type of learning changes takes into account the reaction time along with the intelligence of that person with age. It has been found that overall intelligence is supposed to remain the same throughout life since there is a tendency to value correctness as we age. Experience and maturity teaches us a lot about many things in life that teenagers and children do not have any idea about. Therefore in simple terms learning changes as we age due to several factors that come into the picture.

Read more articles on education at Learn how to speak Italian or the Korean language.


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