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Workplace RERC


State of the Science Conference
September 15-16, 2005

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Workplace Accommodation Use by Aging Workers

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Slides Index Slides 1-15 Slides 16-31

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  1. Vision Accommodations by Age
  2. Difficulty Performing Hearing-related Tasks
  3. Hearing Accommodations by Age
  4. Difficulty Attending to Tasks
  5. Attention Accommodations by Age
  6. Difficulty Changing Positions
  7. Positioning Accommodations by Age
  8. Difficulty Manipulating/Moving Objects
  9. Manipulation/Moving Accommodations by Age
  10. Difficulty Moving Around
  11. Mobility Accommodations by Age
  12. Summary of Difficulty and Accommodations
  13. Conclusions: Changing Face of Aging in the Workplace
  14. Thank you

Slide 16 of 29

Vision Accommodations by Age

 

Group Accessible Documents (OCR) Reading Guides / Aids Braille Display None Provided
Age 18-54 10% 14% 7% 12%
Age 55-64 7% 7% 4% 17%
65 or Older 0% 0% 0% 50%

Typical Accommodations: Reading aids, electronic media, scanner, magnifier, enlarged print, Braille, CCTV, anti-glare devices, new display, more light, assistant provided, redesign job


Slide 17 of 29

Difficulty Performing Hearing-related Tasks

Percent respondents within age group that have this functional limitation:

  • Age 18-54 - 29% (N=94)
  • Age 55-64 - 42% (N=52)
  • 65 or Older - 49% (N=24)
  • All Ages - 35% (N=170)
  • Types of Difficulties:

  • Noise intensity (too loud)
  • Hearing because of pitch
  • Quality of sound
  • Localizing sound

  • Slide 18 of 29

    Hearing Accommodations by Age

    Groups Hearing Aids Communicate via Written Information
    Communicate with Devices
    Sign Language None Provided
    Age 18-54 29%
    17% 14% 12%
    21%
    Age 55-64 39% 19% 15% 6% 12%
    65 or Older 39% 14% 14% 0% 17%

    Typical Accommodations: hearing aid, written communication, communication device, sign language, ear protection, redesign job, provide assistant


    Slide 19 of 29

    Difficulty Attending to Tasks

    Percent respondents within age group that have this functional limitation:
  • Age 18-54 - 16% (N=52)
  • Age 55-64 - 11% (N=13)
  • 65 or Older - 12% (N=6)
  • All Ages - 14% (N=71)
  • Types of Difficulties:

  • Sustaining focus
  • Initiating task(s)
  • Ignoring distractions or unimportant information

  • Slide 20 of 29

    Attention Accommodations by Age

    Groups Checklists Reminder Devices Timers None Provided
    Age 18-54 25% 22% 7% 32%
    Age 55-64 26% 10% 10% 42%
    65 or Older 25% 12% 12% 50%

    Typical Accommodations: checklists, reminder devices, timers, job coach, assistant provided, redesign job


    Slide 21 of 29

    Difficulty Changing Positions

    Percent respondents within age group that have this functional limitation:
  • Age 18-54 - 22% (N=71)
  • Age 55-64 - 22% (N=27)
  • 65 or Older - 14% (N=7)
  • All Ages - 21% (N=106)
  • Types of Difficulties:

  • Bending / reaching to complete work
  • Changing from one position to another
  • Work surface too high or too low
  • Using workstation features (desk, file cabinet, shelves)

  • Slide 22 of 29

    Positioning Accommodations by Age

    Groups Modify Workstation Ergonomic Chairs Steps or Lifts None Provided
    Age 18-54 31% 17% 13% 39%
    Age 55-64 29% 20% 11% 40%
    65 or Older 14% 29% 14% 43%

     


    Slide 23 of 29

    Difficulty Manipulating/Moving Objects

    Percent respondents within age group that have this functional limitation:

  • Age 18-54 - 27% (N=85)
  • Age 55-64 - 22% (N=27)
  • 65 or Older - 14% (N=7)
  • All Ages - 25% (N=121)
  • Types of Difficulties:

  • Using workstation features (desk, file cabinet, shelves)
  • Lifting materials, tools or equipment
  • Carrying materials/equipment
  • Transferring materials
  • Using hand-held tools and work-related devices
  • Accessing files and documents
  • Handling materials, tools or equipment
  • Using heavy machinery

  • Slide 24 of 29

    Manipulation/Moving Accommodations by Age

    Groups Buddy System
    Assistant
    Equipment Modifications Gripping Aids Carts
    Age 18-54 14% 12% 11% 11% 6%
    Age 55-64 21% 11% 5%
    4% 14%
    65 or Older 7% 14% 7% 7% 21%

    Typical Accommodations: equipment modifications, gripping aids, cart, custom devices, clamping devices, leverage aids, lifts, hoists, measuring tools, buddy system, assistant, job redesign


    Slide 25 of 29

    Difficulty Moving Around

    Percent respondents within age group that have this functional limitation:

  • Age 18-54 - 34% (N=108)
  • Age 55-64 - 35% (N=43)
  • 65 or Older - 31% (N=15)
  • All Ages - 34% (N=167)

  • Slide 26 of 29

    Mobility Accommodations by Age

    Groups Accessible Transportation Accessible Parking
    Modification to Restroom Flexible Schedule Ramps
    Age 18-54 15% 10% 11% 8% 9%
    Age 55-64 13% 10% 9% 13% 6%
    65 or Older 11% 14% 7% 2% 11%

     

    Typical Accommodations:

  • General Workspace: accessible parking, restroom modifications, elevator, ramps, automatic door, emergency call button, handrails, stairlift
  • Personal Accommodations: mobility aid, accessible transportation, flexible schedule, telecommuting

  • Slide 27 of 29

    Summary of Difficulty and Accommodations

      Number (%) Respondents Reporting Difficulty* Number (%) of Accommodations Made*
    Vision Tasks 141 (27.6%) 348 (20.3%)
    Hearing Tasks 170 (33.3%) 330 (19.3%)
    Attention Tasks 71 (13.9%) 112 (6.5%)
    Repositioning 106 (20.8%) 113 (6.6%)
    Manipulating Objects 121 (23.7%) 220 (12.8%)
    Moving Around
    167 (32.7%) 591 (34.4%)
    Total 776 1714 (99.9%)

    * Multiple response categories


    Slide 28 of 29

    Conclusions: Changing Face of Aging in the Workplace

    Speaker Notes:

    Although much data is available on employment and disability, the data does not go past the age of 65. Older adults are not present in any employment data and we do not know anything about the characteristics of these workers. We do not know how many are employed, have accommodations, or need accommodations. We do not know the types of disabilities they have and the difficulties they encounter on the job.

    Because they is little to know information available addressing their workplace needs, they may end up leaving the workforce not because they want to retire, but because they are not aware of the accommodations they could use to remain employed. With luck, they may use accommodations, but since we have no data on what accommodations are appropriate for this population, they may not be appropriate for the job.

    In addition, older adults make up the largest portion of people with disabilities in America. Therefore, they probably have lower employment stats than the rest of the workforce.

    These factors indicate that a better understanding of workplace accommodations for older adults in necessary.


    Slide 29 of 29

    Thank you

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