I wouldn’t be at all surprised if someday we see people who are older than 100 in the workforce. The reason is that the 75 and older group is actually the fastest growing population in the workforce. How does “old” get defined anyway? The Bureau of Labor Statistics says old is 65 plus, but the Centers for Disease Control says old is 50. And retirement age according to Social Security was 65 a few years ago, and now it’s 67. I recommend you use caution when you’re reading some of the information that comes out of the government, from different research agencies, and the AARP. As our retirement age changes, we’re going to keep seeing a shift in the classification of “old.”
When you think about your workforce, who are your most experienced workers? Are you anxious about their retiring and leaving you with younger employees who still need a great deal of training? While it is a given that job duties should avoid harmful force, repetition, and awkward postures, all of the normative data gets tossed out the window when we’re talking about a 60- or 70-year-old. Recall that those anthropomorphic charts were made using young adults in the military! An older adult moves, sits and stands very differently. In later blogs, I’ll tell you about ways to recognize and accommodate the normal everyday needs of older adults. Meanwhile, be careful who you call old!