Aging & Work

Aging & Work

Aging & Work

Aging & Work


Improvements in health care and quality of life in recent years have led to a marked aging of the world's population, especially in well-developed regions. In the near future, this problem will spread to developing countries. The growing need to promote the health and function of aging workers presents new challenges as well as new opportunities.

This book examine methods for diagnosing and evaluating work ability/employability in response to the changing capacity of employment. Derived from a Conference on Aging and Work, held in Japan in September 2001, the book examines issues addressed by occupational health professionals to improve the work ability of elderly employees, and discusses measures to promote their employment. Aging and Work will be of particular interest to professionals and students in the fields of occupational health, ergonomics, mechanical engineering, work physiology and industrial psychology.


This volume is a collection of selected papers from an international Conference on aging and work that was held on September 26th-28th, 2001. This Conference was incorporated within The 21st UOEH and the 4th IIES International Symposium “Occupational Health for the 21st Century: New development in New Directions.” Thus, issues relating to aging and work were taken up as one of the important strategies for Occupational Health activities for the 21st century. The Conference was coby the 3rd International ICOH Conference on Aging and Work, Conference of the IEA Technical Committee for Safety and Health, Conference of the IEA Technical Committee for Aging, and The Association of Employment Development for Senior Citizens.

Although there is particular concern with issues relating to aging and work in well-developed regions, it is not often, within the broad field of gerontology, that interest is shown in elderly workers/aging in the workplace. To illustrate this, more than 3,500 people from 80 countries participated in The 17th Congress of the International Association of Gerontology held in Vancouver in 2001, and countless papers were presented. However, there were only nine papers (one session four papers and one invited Symposium six papers (of which one paper was canceled) presented on the subject of elderly workers/aging in the workplace. At the present time, it appears that efforts relating to elderly workers/aging in the workplace depend largely on the fields of ergonomics and occupational health. Today, as cries are raised about the enormous effects of the issue of aging and work on the labor market, society and the economy, the ergonomics and occupational health fields, which are tackling these issues head-on, are faced with big expectations and a heavy responsibility. In this context, it is hoped that Occupational Gerontology, advocated in this book by Dr. Willem Goedhard, will be established. Further, there is no doubt that the key words in this research, “work ability” and “employability, ” will play important roles.

This volume introduces representative administrative activities in Japan, where the population is aging at the fastest rate in the world. It also introduces the current status of research on aging and work measures in the East Asian countries of Korea, Taiwan and China. In addition, the concept of PWA (Promotion of Work Ability) is introduced. The PWA concept, which combines researchers in the three fields of occupational health, ergonomics, and aging and work, has been promoted and studied for a number of years by the government of Finland, one of the most advanced countries in the area of aging and work measures. Many international cases relating to the WAI (Work Ability Index), developed based on the PWA concept, are presented. It is worth noting that the WAI currently is translated into 14 languages and is becoming the global model for existing work ability diagnosis checklists.

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