Gray Power: Debunking myths about older workers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Some people think of older adults as frail and sick. They fail to see older adults as healthy, competent, energetic, active people and therefore fear that they will have high absenteeism and tardiness rates.

But in reality older workers tend to have less incidence of absenteeism and tardiness than their younger counterparts.

Study after study confirms that older workers&8217; absenteeism and tardiness rates are lower than those of their younger counterparts. Statistics compiled by companies show that older employees have a far greater incidence of perfect attendance than any other group in the workforce. Furthermore, few companies have actually reported problems with older adults arriving late to work. If there tends to be a problem, it is with older workers arriving too early!

Some workers over age 50 are caregivers, often caring for aging parents and children. Most companies have found the benefits offered by hiring older adults who are caregivers outweigh the negatives because of the work ethics demonstrated by the older worker.

There are strategies for those seeking employment. They include:

– Arrive promptly for interviews (but not more than five to 10 minutes early).

– Talk about your record for attendance and punctuality with your previous employers, or in non-paid work assignments.

Here are some strategies that may help you keep your job:

– Arrive on time and don&8217;t miss work.

– Call as far in advance as possible when you know you will be unable to work due to illness, weather or some other reason.

– Let your employer know that you understand the importance of being at work on time every day.

This information came from the book, UnRetirement by Fyock and Dorton.

Dr. Marvin Copes, located in Maylene, is an education and community service volunteer for AARP Alabama. He can be reached at