It is time to take action to support older people’s health at work

Poor health is one of the biggest factors causing people to leave work earlier than they would like to; yet poor health isn’t an inevitable part of ageing. We know that health conditions can become more likely as we get older. While some health conditions are not any more likely the older you get, others certainly are. Musculoskeletal conditions (affecting joints, bones and muscles) and heart and circulatory conditions increases significantly as we age. The fact that 14 percent of all 50-64 year olds have a musculoskeletal condition, and that musculoskeletal conditions alone account for 30 million days of sickness absence each year, is significant. People are by impacted by health conditions in different ways, and you can have a dramatically different outcome depending on how early you spot and take action to address a health issue at work. Sometimes slow-onset physical conditions such as musculoskeletal conditions, might start off mildly, but gradually lead to a painful exit from work. Because they change slowly they are more difficult to identify and there isn’t always a clear trigger point to do something about them.

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