Saturday, December 15, 2007

Urban Institute Encourages Institutions to Take Full Advantage of Older Adults' Potential

The Urban Institute has released a study and policy brief, based on data from the Health and Retirement Survey, that shows that over 10 million healthy older adults with no caregiving responsibilities did not work or volunteer in 2004 and that about half of these were are under age 75 and 9 out of 10 have prior work experience. Accordingly, the Institute says, given this untapped potential, shortages of volunteers and workers should prompt employers and nonprofits to court this talent.

The paper--"Are We Taking Full Advantage of Older Adults' Potential?"--came to this conclusion after estimating the potential for increasing engagement among adults 55 and older. It defined engagement as working for pay or volunteering for an organization. The paper summarizes the literature that documents the key benefits of engagement at older ages, examines engagement rates among older adults and the characteristics that distinguish the engaged from the unengaged, estimates which and how many unengaged older adults would most likely benefit from increased engagement opportunities, and asks how well demand for older workers and volunteers is likely to mesh with supply.

Source: Urban Institute Policy Brief (December 13, 2007)

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