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Aging Workforce Webinar Series

In part because people are living longer, policies have been shifting to promoting extended working lives. The five-generation workforce is an emerging reality.  Better and longer work careers are seen as urgently needed to finance and support the longer life of citizens.  This is already happening.  In Canada for example, about one-fifth of seniors worked in 2015, twice as much as in 1995.

But ageism is an issue, and once displaced, older workers are more likely to experience longer unemployment and to take on lower paying, lower skill work. As well, older workers are more likely to be employed in part-time, entrepreneurial, or contract work.

Another group of older adults who may face more challenging labour market circumstances are older Canadians who have a disability; chronic, prolonged or episodic illness; or who have sustained an injury.

This timely webinar series will explore these important issues.

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​Upcoming Aging Workforce Series Webinars​​​​

Dementia Symptoms While in Paid Employment: Impact on Occupational Competence and Occupational Participation

Wednesday, September 11 at 4:00 PM PT, 7: PM ET, Thursday, September 12 at 9:00 AM AET

Retirement is considered a rite of passage at a nominal age in developed countries including the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. However, there is growing international concern that people are living well beyond 'retirement age'. Consequently, there have been strategic shifts in government policy worldwide to increase workforce participation of older workers.  Therefore, the number of individuals presenting with signs and symptoms of a dementia whilst still in paid work is also likely to increase. Meanwhile many employers and their HR representatives consider they are ill-equipped to both recognize symptoms of cognitive decline in the workplace; and address issues associated with managing the impact on workforce participation when a worker experiences onset and progression of dementia. 

You will learn organisational policy and practice implications and strategies for:

  • addressing disparities between inherent requirements of the job and a worker's decline in functional capacity that may be related to dementia; 
  • provision of reasonable workplace adjustments in line with workforce participation choices and legal obligations; and
  • enabling a supported transition to medical retirement

Take-home messages

  • Dementia refers to a progressive set if symptoms of cognitive decline and onset is not limited to only older populations.
  • A large proportion of people who develop younger onset dementia (onset at <65years) will be working.
  • Approximately one in every 1000 people or 3.4% of the US population under the age of 65 have some form of dementia.
  • Approximately 42 000 people under the age of 65 in the UK are living with symptoms of dementia.
  • Approximately 27 000 people under the age of 65 in Australia are living with symptoms of dementia.
  • Approximately 16 000 people under the age of 65 in Canada are living with symptoms of dementia.
  • Obtaining a timely diagnosis of dementia becomes problematic when symptoms are misattributed to other factors such as stress, substance abuse, or a normal part of ageing.
  • In contrast to normal age related changes in functional capacity, a worker with dementia may experience progressively worsening short term memory loss, difficulties with planning, problem solving and sequencing tasks, poor orientation to time and place, and problems recognizing familiar people or objects.
  • The extent to which dementia impacts on functional capacity to remain engaged in paid work differs between individuals due to variations in dementia type and progression, as well as differences in the physical, cognitive and psycho-social task complexities across occupations.

​​​​​Catherine Andrew​

Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy in the School of Health & Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Australia and Certified Practicing Ergonomist, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Australia.

Catherine Andrew is an Occupational Therapist teaching in the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy program at Southern Cross University, and PhD candidate, University of Wollongong, Australia. Since graduating in 1984, she has worked across a range of clinical settings in Australia and USA. She has specialist qualifications as a registered occupational therapy driving assessor and in 2014, co-authored the Dementia and Driving Decision Aid. Catherine is a certified practicing ergonomist with extensive experience in workplace injury management. She is currently undertaking research with people living dementia to identify enablers and barriers to extending workforce participation and supporting the experience of transitioning to retirement. ​

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The Incentives for a Prolonged Work Life After Pensionable Age and the Importance of "Bridge Employment"

Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 10:00 AM PT, 1:00 PM ET, 7:00 PM CET

​With a growing share of older people in almost every population, discussions are being held worldwide about how to guarantee welfare in the immediate future. Different solutions are suggested, like engaging a larger part of the younger generation, but this webinar emanates from the need to keep older employees active in the labor market for a prolonged time. 

You will learn

  • What is Bridge employment
  • A model for Bridge employment
  • Incentives for a prolonged work life from three system levels
  • Characteristics of older persons working after retirement (Micro level)
  • Working life conditions for older persons are (Meso level)
  • Socio-cultural contexts for older persons' work life (Macro level)

Take-home messages

  • If policies for prolonged work life are to be of relevance they need to be based on empirical investigations and take older people's experiences as their point of departure. 
  • Older people should not be seen as a homogeneous group, but as having individual characteristics as with every age group. Attitudes and behavior according to retirement are dependent on contexts in time and place. ​

Anita Björklund Carlstedt, PhD​

Professor, School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University, Sweden.

Anita Björklund Carlstedt is a Professor in the School of Health and Welfare in Jönköping University, Sweden.  Her main research interest concerns older persons' and disabled persons' participation in societal life. Of special interest are studies of how a prolonged working life could be enabled for persons who have reached pensionable age, so called "bridge employment". Bridge employment can take three directions: continue to work for the same employer, working for a new employer, or self-employed.  Since 2013 she is Editor-in Chief for the Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, collaborating with the national editors from Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Sweden.

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Implications of an Aging Workforce: Work Injury, Recovery, Returning to Work and Remaining at Work

Friday, November 22, 2019 at 11:00 AM PT, 2:00 PM ET

The Canadian population aged 65 and over is expected to double over the next 25 years. The Canadian workforce is also ageing with the average age of workers predicted to continue to rise until 2031. However it is unclear whether Canadian companies have addressed the impact of an aging workforce on occupational health. Employers have questions about the implications for work injury, recovery, return to work and remaining at work. Findings from recent studies suggest age is not strongly associated with increased injury rates but is associated with longer return to work time once injured. Workplaces should consider strategies for healthy ageing to address an ageing workforce. 

You will learn
  • About the research on associations between age and work-related injuries as well as recovery from injury
  • That research points to programs and policies that are flexible in providing accommodation as needed and that support autonomy among workers
  • How the WHO World Report on Ageing and Health can provide guidance for workplaces
Take-home messages:
  • Older workers are not, on average, at greater risk of work-related injuries than their younger counterparts. However, if they do get hurt on the job, older workers tend, on average, to take longer to return to work.
  • Longer post-injury absences are not explained by older workers having more severe injuries or certain types of injuries, or by their working in more physically demanding jobs.
  • Longer absences post-injury are explained in part by the greater likelihood of older workers having pre-existing chronic conditions.
  • Workplace factors may explain the longer absences, including ageism.​

Dwayne Van Eerd, Ph.D.​

Scientist, Institute for Work & Health, Canada.

Dr. Dwayne Van Eerd is a scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, where he has been a researcher since 1997. He has an MSc and BSc in kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, an MSc in health research methodology from McMaster University, and a PhD in work and health from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo.

Upon getting his MSc in kinesiology, Van Eerd got his start in occupational health and safety research in a clinical setting, studying musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in performing artists. Now a scientist with the Institute for Work & Health, he focuses prevention of work-related injuries and disorders.

His research projects have included evaluations of participatory organizational change programs and training interventions, as well as systematic reviews of the prevention literature. Recent projects include synthesizing practice evidence with research evidence for better practices in mental health and MSDs.

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Last Modified: 8/15/2019 12:12 PM