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Center Publication

Health and the Older Worker — Fact Sheet


February 2014—While many older workers rate their health status as good to excellent, many also report that they have chronic conditions that affect well-being. Older adults are more likely to have disabilities that result in some limitations in their work-related activities. Older adults are less likely than younger workers to experience workplace injuries or illnesses, but take a few more days off from work to recover.

Facts include:

  • Among respondents aged 46-64 at the time surveyed, overall health status was lower in baby boomers, with 13.2% reporting “excellent” health compared with 32% of individuals in the previous generation.
  • Among adults aged 55-64, 11.0% report frequent mental distress. Younger age groups report similar levels, ranging from 10.7% -11.7% between ages 18-54. Among adults aged 65-74 and 75+, under 7% report frequent mental distress.
  • Approximately 47% of blue-collar workers aged 65 years and older had arthritis... 58% of service workers, 67% of farm workers, and 51% of white collar workers had arthritis... Blue-collar workers appeared to be much more likely to retire if they developed arthritis.
  • Older workers [age 65+] had a rate of sprains and strains that was 39 percent less than the average, but a rate of fractures that was 80 percent greater than the average.

» Download the fact sheet: Health and the Older Worker.

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