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Workplace RERC


State of the Science Conference
September 15-16, 2005

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Supporting older workers at work: A conceptual framework

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Slides Index Slides 1-14 Slides 15-27 Slides 28-40 Slides 41-50

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  1. Prominent Biological/Physiological Theories of Aging - Wear and Tear
  2. How Does Biological / Physiological Aging Theory Inform Us About Functional Ability?
  3. How Does Biological / Physiological Aging Theory Inform Us About Functional Ability?
  4. Functional Ability Decline with Age
  5. How Does Biological / Physiological Aging Theory Inform Us About Functional Ability?
  6. Summary of the Prominent Theories of Aging
  7. Prominent Psychological Theories of Aging
  8. Longevity Theory (Karp, 2000)
  9. Activity, Disengagement, Continuity
  10. How Does Psychological Aging Theory Inform Us About Functional Ability?
  11. Summary of the Prominent Theories Of Aging
  12. Sociology and Aging
  13. Prominent Sociological Theories Of Aging

Slide 15 of 50

Prominent Biological/Physiological Theories of Aging - Wear and Tear

Graphic: The full listing of theories and relationships is presented again, this time all leading to an image of an older man lifting weights.


Slide 16 of 50

How Does Biological / Physiological Aging Theory Inform Us About Functional Ability?

  • Decline in cellular function and accumulation of waste that manifests at the physiological level
  • Introduction of age related changes such as: osteoarthritis, chondromalacia, greying of hair, reduced elasticity of skin, rigidity of the arteries, decline in kidney function, opacification of the lens of the eye and decline in oxygen uptake and delivery of oxygen throughout the body
  • Most changes in physiological function are all losses with a median slope of 0.5% decline per year of the initial value at age 30 years (Yates, 2002)

  • Slide 17 of 50

    How Does Biological / Physiological Aging Theory Inform Us About Functional Ability?

  • At age 70 there would be overall about 80% of the original capacity (of 100% at age 30) left. The range at 70 years could be from 80% to 20% left whereas at age 40 the range is much narrower, 95% to 80% left (Yates, 2002)
  • Based on this research, to state that an individual has or does not have the Functional Ability to accomplish productive work is a stretch

  • Slide 18 of 50

    Functional Ability Decline with Age

    Bar graph:
  • Age 40: Low = 80%; High = 95%
  • Age 70: Low = 20%; High = 80%
  • (adapted from Yates, 2002)

    Slide 19 of 50

    How Does Biological / Physiological Aging Theory Inform Us About Functional Ability?

  • At age 70 there would be overall about 80% of the original capacity (of 100% at age 30) left. The range at 70 years would be from 100% to 20% left whereas at age 40 the range would be much narrower, 100% to 80% left (Yates, 2002)
  • Based on this research, to state that an individual has or does not have the Functional Ability to accomplish productive work is a stretch

  • Slide 20 of 50

    Summary of the Prominent Theories of Aging

  • Biological / Physiological
  • Psychological
  • Sociological

  • Slide 21 of 50

    Prominent Psychological Theories of Aging

  • Longevity Theory
  • Activity Theory
  • Disengagement Theory
  • Continuity Theory

  • Slide 22 of 50

    Longevity Theory (Karp, 2000)

  • Body reminders such as arthritis, prostate problems, snoring
  • Calendar reminders such as birthdays, age 50 being symbolic of half-century
  • Generational reminders such as caregiving role for parents, grandparenthood, realization of a distance socially and culturally from children
  • Contextual reminders such as becoming the oldest at work, highest seniority, dressing appropriate for an age (speedo’s and bikini’s)
  • Mortality reminders such as a life-threatening illness, heart attack or cancer

  • Slide 23 of 50

    Activity, Disengagement, Continuity

    More
    (Burbank, 1986; Schroots, 1996; Goldberg, 2002; Leenerts, Teel et al., 2002; Lane, 2003; Resnick and Nigg, 2003; Thornton, 2003; Wadensten and Carlsson, 2003; Wilcox, Bopp et al., 2003)

    Less
    (Warren, 1973; Cumming, 1975; Markson, 1975; Burbank, 1986; Birren and Bengtson, 1988; Birren and Bengtson, 1988, p.158; Achenbaum and Bengtson, 1994; Schroots, 1996; Hays, Landerman et al., 1998; Mein, Higgs et al., 1998; Coleman, Ivani-Chalian et al., 1999; Bergstrom and Holmes, 2000; Karp, 2000)

    Same
    (Covey, 1981; Burbank, 1986; Atchley, 1989; Field, 1991; Onega and Tripp-Reimer, 1997; Melia, 1999)


    Slide 24 of 50

    How Does Psychological Aging Theory Inform Us About Functional Ability?

  • If an individual is motivated and active they are more likely to be able to engage in productive work (Hansson, 2001; Franche and Krause, 2002).
  • Theories of psychological aging tend to study post-retirement so very little is known about pre-retirement and aging other than personality development.
  • Remaining active and engaged as long as possible is a healthy quest based on the overwhelming literature support for the activity theory.
  • As far as predicting functional ability based on psychological aging theory it seems rather futile until more substantive research is available.

  • Slide 25 of 50

    Summary of the Prominent Theories Of Aging

  • Biological / Physiological
  • Psychological
  • Sociological

  • Slide 26 of 50

    Sociology and Aging

    "Since it is the Other within us who is old, it is natural that the revelation of our age should come to us from outside - from others."
    (from Simone de Beauvoir’s book, Coming of Age, 1970)


    Slide 27 of 50

    Prominent Sociological Theories Of Aging

  • Age Stratification Theory
  • Aging And Society Paradigm
  • Political Economy Of Aging Theory
  • Ambivalence

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