Disability, Age and Accommodation: Old Isn't What It Used To Be

Janet Fiore

When we talk about accommodating for disability, we are also talking about the social reaction to an impairment or physical fact. The label of disability can be said to be a political, economic and sometimes age related social issue.

Current debate on the aging worker routinely discusses the budgetary imparts surrounding the availability and funding levels of Social Security while neglecting to look at how a comprehensive vocational rehabilitation and accommodation approach can maintain the effectiveness and vitality of the aging United States workforce. In studying this problem and looking for opportunity to positively affect work success for the aging worker, the following approach was utilized:

Conclusions and Recommendations for Development/Use of Workplace Accommodations: Given the economic need for business to retain the talents of aging worker, and the fact that age 55 is when most Americans start to show health disorders and impairments, the approach that will be described begins to assess and accommodate this group of workers in the areas of vision, repetitive stress, and mobility/pain issues.

Specific examples of cost effective assessment, accommodation and implementation strategies will be discussed and recommendations for duplication will be issued.

Presentation Handout (MS Word)

Janet Fiore is CEO of the Sierra Group, Inc., a Philadelphia based rehabilitation engineering and disability management consultancy dedicated to reversing the rate of unemployment for people with disabilities. Fiore works to build and maintain linkages between public and private entities affiliated with disability, accommodation and vocational rehabilitation efforts. As a person who accommodates her own disability, Janet's personal experiences fortify her resolve in the fight for a more balanced workforce. Fiore also serves as the Co-founder and Board Member of The Workplace Technology Foundation, created to help people with disabilities as they work to attain employment. Fiore is active with industry policy in Pennsylvania and on the Hill. She has testified before the House Congressional Committee on Small Business and provided input to GAO regarding work incentives. She has been featured in numerous media outlets including CNN; The Philadelphia Inquirer, INC. Magazine, and Microsoft Press. As CEO, consultant, trainer and speaker Janet is often described as ‘being a mentor' and ‘speaking from a perspective of strength.' She is recipient of many awards and is sought out for her work locally, regionally and nationally. She lives her life's passion through keynote speeches on leadership, diversity and surviving change .

Presentation from the 'Workplace Accommodations: State of the Science' conference, September 15-16, 2005, Atlanta, GA