Gray Power: Older workers can keep up

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Many employers&8217; image of older people is a person sitting in a rocking chair.

Some employers cannot imagine older adults involved in energetic and physically demanding tasks. Others are unable to imagine older adults in fast-paced work environments where everyone works with a sense of urgency.

Many managers are reluctant to hire older adults for fear the older worker can&8217;t &8220;keep up.&8221; Research has shown that age is a poor predictor of mental and physical abilities and that, when a correlation does exist, it shows that performance tends to improve with age!

Other studies have shown that older adults tend to participate in many unpaid productive activities. Older adults are often more deliberate in their activities, but tend to perform them with fewer errors, thus making theirs a more productive performance.

Further, with fewer job accidents, older adults are really more productive than their younger counterparts.

Reality: Older adults are productive workers

There are strategies for those seeking employment. They include:

-Provide information on your background, whether on your resume or in the interview, in terms of your achievements.

-Show prospective employers that you have made a valuable contribution in the past.

-Demonstrate by examples and specific details how you remain active in your chosen field.

-Show that you are physically active and able to handle the physical demands of the job.

-Stress your good health. Talk about physical activities.

Here is a strategy that may help you keep your job.

-Be aware of productivity measures in your organization

-Note other contributing factors to productivity in addition to work output, such as quality of performed work, amount of rework needed, waste, and accidents.

-Ask for performance reviews on a regular basis.

Best, believe in yourself.

This information came from the book, &8220;UnRetirement&8221; by Fyock and Dorton.

Dr. Marvin Copes is Education/Community Service Volunteer for AARP Alabama in Maylene. He can be reached by e-mail at