Working as an Elderly Person
June 14, 2021
A lot of senior citizens are opting to work beyond their retirement years. \Some do it to find purpose again, some to supplement their funds during retirement and some want social interaction in the workplace. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the number of the aging population has grown significantly in the last five decades as life expectancy continues to improve.
Along with this, the percentage of older workers has also increased.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a growth of 117% of people 65 years old and older that are opting to work beyond retirement years. The same percentage is the same for those 75 years old and older. Among these people, the ones working full time have steadily grown and the ones opting for part-time growth have decreased.
This is great news, considering that more seniors are earning full-time pay apart from their pensions, investments, and other insurance. However, according to the CDC while the frequency of occupational injuries has steadily declined among older workers in general, the ones who do usually have a more serious injury at times even fatal.
Not only are the elderly population staying in the workforce longer in this decade, but they are also significantly earning more.
The Center for Economic Studies has found that between 1994 to 2015 there is an increase of 80% in earnings of people over the age of 65 who opted to continue to work full time. Their average earning in 1994 is $2,276 and it increased by $1,816 to $4,092. Compared to ages 14 to 24, the earnings only grew by 17% which amounts to $245, from $1,431 to $1,676.
Other age groups like between 25 to 34 noted a 20% increase in average income. This equates to a $600 increase from $3,049 to $3,649. While ages 35-44 saw a 32% increase equates to $1,254. Their average income went from $3,939 to $5,193. Workers ages 45 to 54 have increased their average income by 32%, a significant $1,390 increase from $4,363 to $5,753. However, those nearing retirement age had a 41% increase in earnings. These are people ages between 55 to 65. This amounts to a $1,629 increase from $3,928 to $5,557.
Understanding the stats...
What these statistics say is that people beyond 65 years old who have higher educational attainment and higher incomes are staying in the workforce longer. A typical American worker would generally have $50,000 saved or invested for retirement. This is according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. However, the same could not be said for those earning $50,000 annually. They have been found to have $3,000 saved up for retirement. The grim reality is that some elderly are staying in the workforce longer to make ends meet.
Statistics have shown that there is a huge correlation between the labor participation of aging American workers and the level of academic attainment they have finished. This is partly because people with lower levels of academic attainment have a lower rate of employability in old age. Those who have a bachelor's degree or in a master's degree or doctorate level tend to stay in the workforce longer.
During the early 90s, males between the ages 62 to 74 were approximately 60% with master’s or doctoral degrees who opted to continue working. This was in contrast to high school dropouts with only 20% remaining in the workforce.
With more and more elderly people staying in the labor market, it is also worth noting the prevention of certain risks for them especially with their health and safety in mind. While the ones who stay working are loyal, stay longer, highly experienced, highly skilled, and highly educated there are also a lot of them with health issues and risk of falls and fractures.
This is why it’s a good idea to invest in making the environment conducive to working and focusing. Some of them also have trouble with the fast absorption of new information or new skills, but past this learning curve is a highly competent skilled employee.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH, it is important to take control of risks that workers face for them to be efficient and productive. In 2017 alone 104 million production days were lost to work-related injuries. So instead of investing in foreseen healthcare costs and lost production days, it's more feasible to prevent any injuries in the workplace.
There is a hierarchy of control from least effective to most effective. Here is a list and a concise explanation of it that can be implemented whether in the office or if working from home:
- Elimination - is getting rid of potential hazards and risk to safety in the workplace. One example is water that spilled must be mopped asap to prevent falls, large objects that are in the way and may cause people to bump into it, inconspicuous glass walls or doors that people might accidentally walk into.
- Substitution - is not only eliminating risks but also replacing the cause of hazard. An example of this is a replacement of loose cords that may be a fire hazard or replacing pipes that cause leakage that may cause water damage and molds in the office.
- Administrative control - is having an administration change how people work. An example of this would be the IT department banning access to some sites to prevent viruses from computers and phishing for employees' information.
- Engineering control - means isolating the people from the hazard. An example of this is new technologies in place to protect workers.
PPE or Personal Protective Equipment- an example of this are helmets for construction workers or masks and layers of scrubs and ppe for health workers in times of pandemic. On an individual level, elderly workers can control their own environment with elimination and substitution.
For example, if working from home and having health issues like rheumatism or hip problems it is good to invest in a good ergonomic office chair. The Office Ergonomic Chair 9125 from FlexiSpot is not only safe for the elderly it is also fun and comfortable. It is height adjustable, has an adjustable back angle so you can rest comfortably during breaks. It also has a retractable footrest for foot pains. Along with all of that, it also has a tough rocking function with a pressure adjuster.
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