Since Nelson Mandela’s death on December 5th, there has been considerable commentary about his having assumed the presidency of South Africa’s first post-apartheid government in 1994 when he was 75. Looking back on that time and South Africa’s subsequent course, Mandela was certainly the person best able to begin the nation’s healing process. His experience, his stature, his optimism and his intelligence were essential qualities for the job and the time. His age was irrelevant. And, when he retired at 81, after one term, it wasn’t his age that determined his departure; it was his intention to establish the principle of democratic leadership by leaving the office for the next person, rather than occupying it forever.
Nelson Mandela was a remarkable man and fortunately, his countrymen knew that. They chose him on the strength of his talents. There are an increasing number of high profile seniors at work in the arts, literature, government, politics, but there are also an increasing number of older workers in business, stores, hospitals, (45% of all RNs are over the age of 50), schools, and manufacturing.
Now heading into year three of the record-setting baby boomer age, we need to consider our attitudes about older workers. According to the Administration on Aging (now the Administration on Community Living) there has been more than a 140% increase in the number of people working at 75 compared to twenty years ago. As life expectancy increases, that trend is likely to increase as well, with more people preferring to remain in the workforce.
At the same time, older workers are expanding their technology skills to meet the demands of today’s job market. Older workers are just as interested in using electronic devices such as smart phones, IPads, computers and the social media that go along with them. In fact, to help people acquire new work skills, Massachusetts offers two employment training and job placement programs: Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and One Stop Career Centers.
If experience, reliability, work ethic, and knowledge are essential qualifications for employment, older workers bring those with them to their workplace. Apart from the question of fairness, consider that an older workforce pays for goods, services, AND taxes. If we hire or retain well-qualified older workers, we, and they win; if we discriminate against them, everyone loses.
Tags: Seniors at Work
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month posted on Oct 15
In 1994, after four years of intense investigation and testimony, Congress concluded that there was a pervasive problem of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking among women in the United States. As a result,the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed. This legislation was the …Continue Reading October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month posted on Oct 6
This month, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz announced an infant safe sleep campaign focused on the importance of infant safe sleep practices and promoting ways to reduce risks associated with Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), the leading cause of death among infants between …Continue Reading October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month
Statewide Listening Sessions: Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late-deafened Adults and Children posted on Sep 25
Join Heidi Reed, Commissioner of Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), DHILS providers, the Disability Policy Consortium, and the Disability Law Center at a listening session in communities across the Commonwealth to share experiences with state services for deaf, hard of hearing, and late-deafened adults …Continue Reading Statewide Listening Sessions: Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late-deafened Adults and Children