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Promoting Wellness Among an Aging Workforce by Following These Steps

It’s no secret that people are living longer these days. And as the population ages, so too does the workforce. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that nearly one quarter of American workers will be aged 55 or older by 2018. These older employees are the fastest growing segment of the workforce, as well as the most highly skilled and experienced.

Additionally, many employees say that they are likely to continue working well past the traditional retirement age of 65. In order to retain these valuable employees, it is essential for employers to offer attractive benefit programs that address the unique needs of an aging workforce.

In addition to living longer lives, Americans are also living healthier lives. Recent years have brought a renewed emphasis on diet, exercise, and healthy lifestyle practices, particularly among the baby boomer generation. Employers should consider incorporating these wellness elements into their benefit programs—options for doing so may include health coaching, wellness promotion, and adopting policies that encourage healthy behaviors among older employees.

The term successful aging refers to optimal physical, mental, social and financial well-being in older age. Experts recommend that human resources departments consider setting up a “productive aging” program to encourage successful aging and meet the needs of older employees. These programs typically include a demographic analysis of the organization’s workforce, a flexible working environment for older staff members, and chronic condition management (often with a particular focus on obesity).

Onsite clinics are an important component of any productive aging or employee wellness program. Onsite clinics bring wellness to the employee, effectively increasing participation in health-supporting activities.

They are a particularly valuable tool for encouraging employees to undergo annual exams and preventive care. Clinic staff are able to offer preventive services such as biometric screenings and lab tests. And as they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”—preventive care is proven to significantly reduce long-term healthcare costs for both employers and employees.

While baby boomers are living and working longer than previous generations, many of these employees are also coping with chronic health conditions. Common conditions include diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. In addition, nearly 40% of baby boomers are considered obese. Onsite clinic staff can help chronically ill employees better cope with their condition through weight and disease management, wellness and nutrition coaching, and smoking cessation.

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, wellness programs reduce healthcare costs by 18 percent. And the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) reports that these savings increase to 28 percent for older workers.

Additionally, wellness programs increase productivity and decrease employee absenteeism due to illness and attendance at healthcare appointments. All of these factors add up to enormous benefits for both employees and employers.

Healthstat offers onsite healthcare to benefit your most valuable asset: your employees. We can work with you to design a comprehensive wellness program specifically tailored to the needs of older employees—allowing your company to retain the valuable experience of these highly skilled workers.

Download our guide to onsite clinics for a comprehensive look at how to get started.

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