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Lifespan Career Counseling Approaches: Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population Laura M. Smith, MS, CRC, CVE Doctoral Student Auburn University.

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Presentation on theme: "Lifespan Career Counseling Approaches: Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population Laura M. Smith, MS, CRC, CVE Doctoral Student Auburn University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lifespan Career Counseling Approaches: Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population Laura M. Smith, MS, CRC, CVE Doctoral Student Auburn University

2 The Aging Workforce IRI PSG: Contemporary issue and challenge in the field of VR, 34 th Institute, scheduled May, 2008 IRI PSG: Contemporary issue and challenge in the field of VR, 34 th Institute, scheduled May, 2008 GAO Forum ( ): Engaging and Retaining Older Workers GAO Forum ( ): Engaging and Retaining Older Workers The Taskforce on the Aging of the American Workforce (DOL, May, 2006) The Taskforce on the Aging of the American Workforce (DOL, May, 2006)

3 Learner Objectives To review the unique characteristics and concerns of the mature worker in the context of fundamental changes in workplace and workforce To review the unique characteristics and concerns of the mature worker in the context of fundamental changes in workplace and workforce To review lifespan career counseling approaches that are particularly effective for this population To review lifespan career counseling approaches that are particularly effective for this population To focus on relevant VR issues including marketing and collaboration To focus on relevant VR issues including marketing and collaboration

4 Overview Current and predicted trends for older workers Current and predicted trends for older workers Cultural and economic retirement incentives Cultural and economic retirement incentives Older workers’ unique characteristics and concerns Older workers’ unique characteristics and concerns Lifespan counseling approaches Lifespan counseling approaches Recommendations and ponderables Recommendations and ponderables

5 “What’s Your Real Age?” Younger mature adult Younger mature adult Older mature adult 62+ Older mature adult 62+ Real Age complicated by disease and disability Real Age complicated by disease and disability Senescence: period of decline until death; cells no longer reproduce; organs fail Senescence: period of decline until death; cells no longer reproduce; organs fail

6 Statistics Currently 35 million people 65 and older Currently 35 million people 65 and older 2011 first baby boomers will turn first baby boomers will turn nearly 20% of the population is expected to be 65 or older 2030 nearly 20% of the population is expected to be 65 or older

7 “Demographic Tsunami” Aging boomers ( ) Aging boomers ( ) Increased life expectancy/better health Increased life expectancy/better health Post-boomer declining Birth Rates Post-boomer declining Birth Rates In the year 2025: Labor force decline Labor force decline Slow economic growth Slow economic growth Slow federal revenue growth (GAO Forum, 2007) Slow federal revenue growth (GAO Forum, 2007)

8 Life Expectancy/ Population Statistics 2003: a 65 year old male has an average life expectancy of 16.8 years; a 65 year old female has an average life expectancy of 19.8 years 2003: a 65 year old male has an average life expectancy of 16.8 years; a 65 year old female has an average life expectancy of 19.8 years 12.4 % of the population—1 in 8– is an older American 12.4 % of the population—1 in 8– is an older American 2004: 18.1% of persons 65+ were minorities 2004: 18.1% of persons 65+ were minorities

9 Income and Poverty Sources of income for mature adults include Social Security; assets; private and government employee pensions; earnings Sources of income for mature adults include Social Security; assets; private and government employee pensions; earnings 3.6 million elderly persons (9.8%) below the poverty level in million elderly persons (9.8%) below the poverty level in 2004 Poverty Guidelines $9,310 for a single individual (Federal Register, Vol. 69, No. 30, 2004.) Poverty Guidelines $9,310 for a single individual (Federal Register, Vol. 69, No. 30, 2004.) 2.3 million (6.7%) “near poor” 2.3 million (6.7%) “near poor”

10 Older Worker Unemployment Subgroups for whom unemployment is persistent: Subgroups for whom unemployment is persistent: Less educated Less educated Poorer health Poorer health African American males African American males 39% reduction in earnings in the two years following job loss 39% reduction in earnings in the two years following job loss

11 Incentives to Retire Pension statutes and regulations: DB plans Pension statutes and regulations: DB plans Employment Income Security Act (ERISA) Employment Income Security Act (ERISA) Cultural expectations: Social Security NRA and early retirement age Cultural expectations: Social Security NRA and early retirement age Mandatory retirement age (certain professions) Mandatory retirement age (certain professions) Phased retirement not an option Phased retirement not an option

12 Age-Based Laws Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and amendments (EEOC) Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and amendments (EEOC) Older Americans Act and amendments Older Americans Act and amendments

13 Perceptual, Cultural, and Legal Barriers to Work Perceptual, Cultural, and Legal Barriers to Work Age discrimination/employer perceptions Age discrimination/employer perceptions Medicare Medicare Older worker perceptions Older worker perceptions Caregiving Caregiving Managing chronic disease Managing chronic disease Laws Laws

14 Why Continue Working? Because older workers can! Because older workers can! Downsizing Downsizing Health coverage; ability to cover rising costs out of pocket Health coverage; ability to cover rising costs out of pocket Inadequate savings; income supplements Inadequate savings; income supplements Quality of life; maintenance of current lifestyle Quality of life; maintenance of current lifestyle Intrinsic needs: social, productivity Intrinsic needs: social, productivity Employment as vocation Employment as vocation

15 The Value of Older Workers Experienced human capital/institutional knowledge Experienced human capital/institutional knowledge Loyalty reflected in job tenure Loyalty reflected in job tenure Low absentee and turnover rates Low absentee and turnover rates Many willing to work part time or in contingent employment Many willing to work part time or in contingent employment

16 Physical Health Issues Age-onset disabilities include Age-onset disabilities include Hypertension (51%) Hypertension (51%) Arthritis (48%) Arthritis (48%) All types of heart disease (31%) All types of heart disease (31%) Cancer (21%) Cancer (21%) Diabetes (16%) Diabetes (16%) Sinusitis (14%) Sinusitis (14%)

17 Mental Health Issues Cognitive functioning Cognitive functioning Depression (2-8% for older persons in communities; 10% in primary health settings; 15% in acute or nursing home settings) Depression (2-8% for older persons in communities; 10% in primary health settings; 15% in acute or nursing home settings) Depression as risk factor for disability Depression as risk factor for disability Suicide rate Suicide rate Anxiety Disorders (11.4% community-residing adults) (Swett & Bishop, 2003) Anxiety Disorders (11.4% community-residing adults) (Swett & Bishop, 2003)

18 Substance Abuse Issues Pathways: early versus late onset Pathways: early versus late onset Influences: cohort effects, socioeconomic status, frail health, discretionary income, status as a hidden population, caregiver complicity (Benshoff, Harrawood, & Koch, 2003) Influences: cohort effects, socioeconomic status, frail health, discretionary income, status as a hidden population, caregiver complicity (Benshoff, Harrawood, & Koch, 2003) Family, caregiver, and clinician contribution to the abuse Family, caregiver, and clinician contribution to the abuse

19 Transportation Issues Older driver safety Older driver safety Testing and drive remediation Testing and drive remediation High and low technology High and low technology Alternatives Alternatives AARP AARP

20 Caregiving Issues Caring for aging parents Caring for aging parents Sandwich generation (triple-decker with grandchildren) Sandwich generation (triple-decker with grandchildren) Caregiving costs employers $11.7 to $29 billion per year in lost productivity (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1997) Caregiving costs employers $11.7 to $29 billion per year in lost productivity (Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1997) Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)

21 Best Practices in Counseling Mature Adults Developmental career counseling approaches Developmental career counseling approaches Transferability Transferability Health and financial literacy Health and financial literacy Training Training

22 Career Counseling Theory Lifespan, life-space approach (Super) Lifespan, life-space approach (Super) Career Development Stages: Growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance, disengagement Career Development Stages: Growth, exploration, establishment, maintenance, disengagement Middle adulthood Middle adulthood Late adulthood over 65 Late adulthood over 65 Self-concept Self-concept Career Adaptability Career Adaptability

23 Clarification of Vocational Identity Developmental, also known as thematic- extrapolation method (Super) Developmental, also known as thematic- extrapolation method (Super) Client chronologies/life patterns Client chronologies/life patterns

24 Practical Applications Anticipate and prepare for change Anticipate and prepare for change Process emotions associated with job loss, unemployment, transitions Process emotions associated with job loss, unemployment, transitions Select occupations congruent with interests and abilities: transferability Select occupations congruent with interests and abilities: transferability Recycle through career stages Recycle through career stages Participate in lifelong learning (Brewington & Nassar-McMillan, 2000) Participate in lifelong learning (Brewington & Nassar-McMillan, 2000)

25 Transferable Skills Skills used in one or more jobs that may be interchanged or substituted into another job Skills used in one or more jobs that may be interchanged or substituted into another job Taking into account residual functional capacity (Weed and Field, 2001) Taking into account residual functional capacity (Weed and Field, 2001) Standard vocational evaluation method/tool; computer-based systems Standard vocational evaluation method/tool; computer-based systems

26 Soft Skills Soft skills: Motivation, getting along with coworkers, accepting supervision, getting to work on time, attending work regularly, giving notice of nonattendance, showing enthusiasm for improving one’s performance, requesting reasonable accommodations (Stensrud, 2007) Soft skills: Motivation, getting along with coworkers, accepting supervision, getting to work on time, attending work regularly, giving notice of nonattendance, showing enthusiasm for improving one’s performance, requesting reasonable accommodations (Stensrud, 2007)

27 Health Literacy Nine of 10 adults lack skills needed to manage health and prevent disease (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007) Nine of 10 adults lack skills needed to manage health and prevent disease (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007) Numeracy skills Numeracy skills Literacy skills Literacy skills Health knowledge Health knowledge 30 million people have below basic health literacy, describe health as poor, lack health insurance 30 million people have below basic health literacy, describe health as poor, lack health insurance

28 Financial and Benefits Issues Financial literacy Financial literacy Retirement budgeting Retirement budgeting Future health care costs Future health care costs

29 The Training Imperative The value of training for older employees The value of training for older employees Environmental factors Environmental factors Employer attitudes Employer attitudes Employee attitudes Employee attitudes Discouraging training a subtle form of discrimination Discouraging training a subtle form of discrimination

30 Training Guidelines Pace: Give extra time to complete training Pace: Give extra time to complete training Provide relevance and hands on experience Provide relevance and hands on experience Build on informal and formal skills Build on informal and formal skills Self-directed and designed learning: software tutorials Self-directed and designed learning: software tutorials SeniorNet: eID=6636 SeniorNet: eID=6636

31 Recommendations Gerontology: the study of aging Gerontology: the study of aging Gerontology threads within VR educational programs Gerontology threads within VR educational programs Gerontology coursework/specialty Gerontology coursework/specialty Interdisciplinary/interdepartmental gerontology coursework Interdisciplinary/interdepartmental gerontology coursework Social gerontologists Social gerontologists

32 Recommendations Advertising/social networking Advertising/social networking Consultation: business recruitment, selection, training, accommodation, and promotion processes (Stensrud, 2007) Consultation: business recruitment, selection, training, accommodation, and promotion processes (Stensrud, 2007) Attention to placement risk factors Attention to placement risk factors Partnerships: collaboration in service provision: DOL Protocol Partnerships: collaboration in service provision: DOL Protocol

33 Future Trends Assistive technology Assistive technology Home modification (“Smart Homes”) and universal design Home modification (“Smart Homes”) and universal design Telehealth Telehealth Managing chronic disease/disability management/employee retention Managing chronic disease/disability management/employee retention Phased retirement Phased retirement

34 Ponderables Will VR join in a national campaign to promote older workers? Will VR join in a national campaign to promote older workers? Will VR help to change the “culture of retirement” and national norms on “old age” and retirement? Will VR help to change the “culture of retirement” and national norms on “old age” and retirement? Will VR seek to form collaborative relationships with other agencies devoted to an aging population, and, if so, which ones? Structure and nature of relationship? Umbrella? Will VR seek to form collaborative relationships with other agencies devoted to an aging population, and, if so, which ones? Structure and nature of relationship? Umbrella?

35 Ponderables Continued What unique training and incentives can VR offer this population? What unique training and incentives can VR offer this population? Will VR be willing and able to accommodate a population who seeks part time, flexible hours? Will employers? Will VR be willing and able to accommodate a population who seeks part time, flexible hours? Will employers? Will VR be able to handle the transferability needs of counselors? Would within-unit vocational evaluators fill this need? Will VR be able to handle the transferability needs of counselors? Would within-unit vocational evaluators fill this need?

36 Questions?

37 References Website: Ms. Laura (“Mimi”) Smith Department of Rehabilitation and Special Education 1228 Haley Center Auburn University, AL (334)


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