Disability and absence managers are thinking about how the aging of baby boomers will affect wellness programs, absence rates and disability costs — but also about how to keep older workers’ knowledge from retiring along with the workers.
Researchers at the Cornell University Employment and Disability Institute recently joined with the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) to look at how 863 disability management professionals affiliated with DMEC are responding to the aging of boomer workers.
The sample included 522 participants who work for large or midsize employers.
In 2010, because of the aging of the boomers, workers age 55 and older made up about 19.5 percent of the workforce, up from about 12 percent in 1990.
In 2020, roughly 25 percent of U.S. workers could be 55 or older, researchers wrote in a report distributed by DMEC.
Only 36 percent of the employer disability program managers said their organizations have started to change absence and disability management programs to reflect the needs of an older workforce.
The disability managers said their organizations are trying to adapt by offering more flexibility, providing more case management services for employees who have chronic conditions and need help with staying at or returning to work, and by adding more wellness services.