Decreasing Disability Rates in Older Workers: Some Newer Research Directions

  • Robert B. WallaceEmail author


Because of demographic changes in the United States as well as other developed countries, the number of older workers is increasing, and for various reasons the number of older persons working later in life is also growing. These trends raise special issues for occupational health and safety for older workers, in part because of how occupational health and safety programs are organized and deployed, and also because research on older workers has been lacking despite the general availability of health services for older people, particularly Medicare in the USA. This chapter presents a framework for considering productive aging at work, and then considers a selected series of specific health and social issues for older workers: the need for increased genetic risk assessment; the increased recognition of autism spectrum among older persons; dealing with cannabis in the workplace for older persons; the impact of social stressors in the workplace and their potential effects on older persons; and the effect of paid sick leave on health outcomes. Because the nature of work is always evolving for workers of all ages, the chapter concludes with some thoughts on how this evolution might affect coming generations of older workers.


Aging Older workers Workplace Disability 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Epidemiology and Internal MedicineColleges of Public Health and Medicine, University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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