The population is aging in Canada and in the rest of the world. Death rates continue to fall and, as a result, life expectancy is increasing. Moreover, fertility rates are low in Western countries—where they are below replacement—and falling elsewhere in the world. These two phenomena are leading to a change in the age structure of the population, with projections forecasting that the proportion of the population over 65 will rise substantially.
Concerns about the viability of social programs have prompted governments to encourage workers to remain in the workforce. What will persuade older workers to stay in employment? What needs to be done to ensure they remain healthy and productive? This talk examines these issues. The health effects of normal aging are reviewed, as well as the implications for health and safety. Some possible ways to manage the aging workforce are discussed. Finally, questions that need to be answered are outlined, and methodological challenges for epidemiological studies are described.