Ageism and stereotypes in the workplace

Stereotypes, prejudices, or discrimination against someone because of their age are common. It is estimated that 6 in 10 Canadians over the age of 66 have experienced an episode of ageism in their lifetime. Such a phenomenon is widespread in many countries and takes various forms, including in the workplace, where older adults over 55 make up a significant portion of the workforce. However, as many Baby Boomers approach the typical retirement age, many are leaving the workforce, contributing to a shrinking labour force.


The global pandemic has impacted the economy, and many countries are considering slowly raising the retirement age to help with recovery efforts by keeping older workers employed for longer. But is staying in the workforce longer a positive experience for older adults?


Even though older workers have a lot to contribute to businesses and society regarding their productivity and knowledge, their positive contributions can often be overlooked. Employers must foster non-discriminatory, inclusive work environments by equitably offering career development opportunities to all employees and setting accommodations to address aging-related issues to protect the mental health and wellbeing of older adults in the workforce.


Asking for adjustments that will allow you to continue working, sharing your knowledge, and making meaningful connections while having time for other responsibilities as parents, grandparents, and caregivers can allow your career and personal life to work more harmoniously together. Making suitable accommodations can help older workers stay in the workforce longer and positively impact their physical, psychological, and social life.


If you are thinking about transitioning to retirement, there are a few things you may want to consider. Meet with a financial advisor to discuss your budget and the ideal age you can retire without financial stress. Think about what meaningful roles you can play in your new life as a retiree and what you want to achieve during this time. To read more about what the research says about retirement, we’ve compiled some helpful resources below.  

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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.

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