Working Beyond 65: a Qualitative Study of Perceived Hazards and Discomforts at Work.

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Reynolds, F. ; Farrow, A. ; Blank, Alison (2013)

This qualitative study explored self-reports of hazards and discomforts in the workplace and coping strategies among those choosing to work beyond the age of 65 years. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 people aged 66-91 years. Most worked part-time in professional or administrative roles. Participants described some hazards and discomforts in their current work, but no recent accidents. The main age-related discomfort was tiredness. Other hazards that recurred in participants’ accounts were physical demands of the job, driving, and interpersonal difficulties such as client or customer complaints, and in very rare cases, bullying. Most work-related hazards (e.g. prolonged sitting at computers, lifting heavy items and driving) were thought likely to affect any worker regardless of age. Coping strategies included making adaptations to age-related changes (such as decreased stamina) by keeping fit and being open about difficulties to colleagues, reducing hours of work, altering roles at work, limiting driving, applying expertise derived from previous work experiences, being assertive, using authority and status, and (among the minority employed in larger organisations) making use of supportive company/organisational policies and practices. Overall, the sample took individual responsibility for managing hazards at work and perceived little or no elevation of risk linked to age.
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