Aging and Employment

Introduction

The elderly are exposed to the risk of negative outcomes and tend to be the most conspicuous consumers of health resources in both the community and acute settings. Initiatives of long-term care plans for this category of population have a potential of improving their health across various settings. Although the number of the aging population continues to rise on a consistent basis, the special needs of this category of population had been neglected for a long time. Moreover, these groups of people have to face a number of challenges when it comes to employment and independent living. Current paper postulates that an inclusive care program for the elderly would be highly beneficial in terms of enhancing the employability potential and independent living for these groups of people, whereby the communities and stakeholders receive basic care from an interdisciplinary team.

In regard to employment issues, various studies indicate that the elderly are consistently discriminated in terms of employment. Interestingly, studies have demonstrated that while the related benefits of employment such as health and disability insurance become more accessible with time, there is a tendency for older workers to use lower medical benefits compared to younger employees. Reports from various organizations and companies have also reported that workers with dependents are more expensive compared to their older counterparts (Holburn, Gordon, & Vietze, 2007). Further, older individuals, particularly those who were born in the 60s, 70s, or 80s, have a likelihood of forming a selected group of healthy people. These groups also incur lesser injuries in the workplace depending on their performance in the workplace. It is therefore time for the stakeholders to look into this matter perceiving the elderly as potential employees as well as assisting them in their jobs accordingly (Chan & Stevens, 2001). In this respect, the elderly should be helped to realize their potential in employment and career in general. This is because employment will raise the economic prospects of such groups of people and therefore, enable them to contribute to the economy for their own good.

Under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, it is prohibited to release, single out or refuse to employ a person based on his or her age. This inequity is visible in terms of particular circumstances, amount of compensation, terms of employment, and provision of employment. It is also unlawful to categorize, restrict, or isolate workers in a way that is likely to deny them work opportunities or in some other way impinge on their employment positions because of their age. Thus, it becomes crucial for managers, including those that are responsible for making sure that the elderly are not singled out in terms of employment or at the workplace.

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The U.S Census Bureau Data indicates that the impact of the aging on the society and the economy is consistently being aggravated. In America, for instance, individuals who are over 65 of age constitute a larger share of the population and this has made or rather required many of them to keep on working or find suitable employment for sustenance purposes. Currently, approximately 1 out of 8 citizens in America are at least 65 years. It is also projected that by 2040, these groups will have accounted for 1 out of 5 individuals (Neumark, 2009). The number of the elderly would be even larger if the reduction of new births induced by the recession continues. Surveys and anecdotal reports point out that there is need for older persons to keep on working because of the negative impact that has been caused by the recession. Further, the adequacy in retirement has been cited as a growing concern for those who are nearly retired. The nest eggs are too small and consistent gains in longevity have intensified people’s fears in outliving their financial resources.

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Interestingly, there is very little information in regard to the impact of job loss among the elderly. An article by Chan and Stevens (2001), attempts to fill this gap by assessing the patterns of employment among the elderly. In this article, the author noted that there was a significant increase in the rate of job losses among the elderly workers. Regarding the employees who had reached the age of 55 and above, the rate of job loss among them during three years, from 1992 to1996, increased from 11% in the early 1980 to more than 16% in the later years. There are serious ramifications for job loss among the elderly, considering the challenge of acquiring a new job owing the age discrimination and many other factors. Further, unemployment forces the elderly to draw upon their retirement savings earlier, thus becoming bankrupt sooner than later.

While workers who are displaced at the age of 50 years have an approximate of 70 percent to 75 percent chance of getting another job within two years, and the new employment in most cases does not take much time. This happens mostly because of their health condition. The study indicates that individuals aged between 56-60 years have approximately twice the potential of losing their newly acquired jobs within just a year when compared to non-displayed individuals who are of the same age. Employees who lose a job at a relatively young age are more likely to be able to work at the age 69 when compared to their colleagues who are dismissed from job. The researcher’s conclusion is that losing a job at an old age leads to a long spell of unemployment, which is followed by short-lived job tenure along with postponed retirement (Lahey, 2008).

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Without future changes, younger citizens are likely to face more desperate future than the existing elderly population. There is a common assumption that from the current perspective, social security no longer supports the population who pay into it now. This has consequently resulted in the fact that the postretirement status entirely depends on one’s skills and knowledge in budgeting, creating support structures, finding non-profit sector support, and assisting neighbors, friends or family members. Neumark (2009) suggests that such arrangements alongside the various programs, which assist the elderly in their homes including provision of meals on wheels, healthcare professions are not developed enough to meet the current and future needs of the elderly.

A study carried out by Katz (2000) assessed the existing conditions, requirements and the ways of offering them to the elderly. The research has identified that several naturally mushrooming societies of retirees have come about in the New York City. In addition, there are current services meant for the elderly who are residents of the city, including its neighborhoods. In small economic areas, the elderly who are able to work are employed in an effort to recover their level of income.

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Various studies have noted that the ability to remain in their homes and their independence are quite important aspects to the elderly (Neumark, 2009; Chan & Stevens, 2001). From historical perspectives, households involving extended families have not been the norm in the U.S. However, there is an increasing trend of more elderly people living along than in previous years. According to Kamo, an individual’s personal freedom and cultural values continue to be a part of the Americans’ life. Moreover, individual’s independence and preferences represent an attempt of avoiding the burden of being obliged to cater for one’s family. For many years, the manner in which housing arrangements of the elderly have altered offers immense insights into this problem. Among the most significant driving factors are the rising level of income, declining rate of fertility and cultural changes. The combination of these factors may as well account for the change.

Discussion

In today’s world, many older workers face a challenge that they used to think was hard to overcome. This includes finding a job. The continuing economic woes found several retirees going back to work, while the other workers are being released from whatever they thought was their life-long employment. Finding that next possible opportunity is usually a challenge at a particular stage of one’s career, which does not exclude the older workers. Many companies however, see them as less enthusiastic, less energetic or less productive as compared to their young counterparts. However, there are means that an elderly person can use to find meaningful employment (Neumark, 2009).

The elderly are at a risk of negative outcomes being the most conspicuous consumers of health resources in both the community and acute settings. Therefore, their employment potential and independent living are greatly minimized. It explains the reason of why many are not only out of employment but seek support for the sake of survival. Initiatives of long-term care plans for this category of population have the potential of improving their health across various settings. These could be carried out through clinical practice, leadership, education and research. Further, Long Term Care Plans for the elderly are intended for a comprehensive assessment and screening of frailty that is a common phenomenon among the elderly. They facilitate the access to services and programs, empowering and educating the patients and their families on the issues related to management and improvement of their health conditions, which in turn enables them to perform their day-to-day functions (Bergman et al., 2007).

While many patients with frail condition may appear active and robust, their capacity in responding to stress is insufficient. In addition, they are normally exposed to high risk of morbidity or death. For this reason, it is extremely essential to recognize early frailty patients particularly those that are older and react accordingly either to get rid of or lessen the risks related to this condition (Bergman et al., 2007). Therefore, it is necessary to design a common approach, which will enable health practitioners to evaluate patients with frail condition. This common approach will enable practitioners to carry out the evaluations based on the level of actual risks and prioritize the medical needs of these patients. Additionally, this will enable practitioners to deduce whether the patients require additional care or support in their care location. Finally, the approach taken enables the health workers to identify frail patients or those who are in danger, and forward them for advance evaluation if necessary.

Studies have consistently indicated that the elderly tend to get involved in activities they find significant as a form of maintaining their physical health, mental acuity, and emotional well-being (Katz, 2000). Although the nursing home model for frail patients endeavors to offer such stimulation, most of the operations at these entities are mostly organized by staff without any involvement of the residents otherwise in this case “patients” are assigned with a set of required task for all those who are concerned. Patients could therefore feel alienated from their actual homes; this leads to an increased level of stress.

Moreover, there is a great concern for residents in assisted care facilities, as well as their facilities and the state for the wellbeing and safety of the elderly who are sick in these residentials. This can be explained by the fact that it may not be possible to ensure each client in the healthcare agencies are secure from all forms of security risks and injuries. Some patients may only feel safe while being at home (Holburn, Gordon, & Vietze, 2007)

Wehman, Inge, Ravell, and Brooke (2007) note that during the previous decade, many organizations had to deal with the consequences of a volatile world economy. As organizations gear up to hire more workers, they will be doing so in an extremely competitive environment for the development of skills and talents. In recruiting the elderly with experience in this competitive environment, organizations must be open to diverse categories of population across the country. The authors also add that heterogeneous and diverse teams promote innovation, creativity and enhanced decision making. These authors continue to postulate that despite some progress and development particularly in the areas of gender, and race, disabled individuals including the elderly still face the representations in various workplaces.

However, Holburn, Gordon, and Vietze (2007) points out that the individuals with disabilities will require rehabilitation assistance and support at different stages of their employment tenure. The support could be given in the form of guidance, facilitation to perform the job or consultation. Typically, disabled individuals including the elderly will need some extra support to perform their functions. The qualitative nature on the kind of support required will be determined by the kind of job placement alongside the job analysis determining the kind of support services necessary for a particular group of disabled people. The above mentioned authors further indicate that effective support whether intrusive or natural has to be maintained on a regular basis. This can be explained by the fact that disabled individuals participating in support employment still have a potential of falling out on their jobs too frequently easily eliminating the general purpose of support.

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To conclude, the elderly need to update their appearance, which is an important point for the elderly while looking for a job or already being employed. If the appearance, clothing or hairstyle appears to look inappropriate, it would be assumed by employers that their skills or experience are outdated. Secondly, older people should be encouraged to be confident in the quality of work they perform. In other words, a positive attitude has to be created among them. They should not be shy in regard to some self-promotion. They should boldly tell their employers about their strengths and how the company can benefit by hiring them. They should however remember that while confidence is paramount, cockiness might work against them (Lahey, 2008).

Furthermore, older individuals usually catch a negative blow for their refusal and lack of ability to adjust to changes, especially in regard to the sphere of technology. Thus, they should figure out some approaches with the help of which it would be possible to better their technology knowledge and computer proficiency in particular. Moreover, they should focus more and put more stress on their skills and experience instead of their age. Thus, they should be pleased with their accomplishments, wisdom, knowledge and maturity. While revising their resumes, they should take into consideration the most appropriate know-how in terms of the past 10 to 20 years.

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Conclusion

Although the number of the aging population continues to rise on a daily basis, the special needs of this category of population had been neglected for a long time. Moreover, this group of people had to face a number of challenges related to unemployment and lack of support services. The numbers of disabled individuals are increasingly growing in the community and it is essential to make this community get involved in the corporate world. Although it is necessary to address the business case, including the challenges associated with this task and the related benefits, disabled people including the elderly have to be given a right to choose, as well as full access to the workforce. It is imperative to make diversity a priority in organizations, not because of the moral factors, but rather for the sake of the development of businesses and economy. The need for aging adults to continue working raises an imperative for novel policies, which addresses the particular challenges faced by the aging population in terms of job search.

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