CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2015 - (Page 7)
The Advantages of an Aging Workforce
BY KATHLEEN FRASER, RN-BC, MSN, MHA, CCM, CRRN
elcome to CMSA Today. This issue
is dedicated to care coordination
workforce perspectives. How do
we maintain and engage a vital workforce,
and what are the barriers and issues that are a
hindrance? Our workforce is diverse whether
it be in the settings in which we work, titles
we are given, or the roles we play in case
management. We have a workforce shortage
that is increasing. How do we train registered
nurses and licensed social workers to work in
case management in shorter timeframes? And
how can we reach out to health care student
programs to communicate the viability of a
career in case management? CMSA can answer
these questions for you and your organizations.
One area I want to specifically address, which
recently struck a chord with me, occurred a few
week ago. I was traveling to present at the New
England Chapter's annual conference and they
specifically requested my presentation cover
the aging workforce. My flight was delayed
nearly four hours due to weather issues and
as I sat in the airport, which by the way was
on my birthday, the irony came to me: I was
having my 60th birthday in the Houston airport
heading up to present on case management
and the aging workforce. And I was that aging
workforce. Happy birthday to me!
"Courage is being scared to death
and saddling up anyway."
- John Wayne
The aging workforce, aka The Silver Tsunami,
refers to the rise in the median age of the United
States workforce to levels unseen since the
passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. It
is projected that by the year 2020, about 25
percent of the U.S. workforce will be composed
of older workers (age 55 and over). In order
to effectively work with the aging workforce,
it is important to become more aware of
generational differences and tailor your
approach to accommodate those differences.
The two generations covered in the
aging workforce are a small amount of the
"When we see problems as
opportunities for growth, we tap
a source of knowledge within
ourselves which carries us through."
- Marsha Sinetar
Traditionalist/Veteran, born 1925-1945.
Ninety-five percent of this generation is retired
or working reduced areas. Major events in their
lives were World War II, the great depression,
and the New Deal.
Then came the baby boomers, of which I am
a member, born 1946-1964. More babies were
born in 1946 than ever before; 3.4 million, which
is 20 percent more than in 1945. This was the
beginning of the so-called "baby boom." When
the boom finally tapered off in 1964, there were
76.4 million baby boomers in the United States.
They made up almost 40 percent of the nation's
population. Our major events were the Beatles
(Paul being my favorite), a man landing on the
moon, and Dr. Martin Luther King.
According to the National Council on
Compensation (NCCI), older workers do not
experience a higher rate of injury than their
younger counterparts. However, there is a
higher incidence of falls, and a higher incidence
of rotator cuff, knee injuries, and lower back
complaints of pain. Hip fractures are of the
greatest concern due to the critical nature
of the injury. The traditionalists and baby
boomers require more treatment, and cost
of medicals are 50 percent greater. There are
also higher indemnity costs. Average days
off for older employees is 66 days, while
younger employees only 53 days. And due
to age, there are increased comorbidities.
Chronic conditions associated with age make
treatment more complex. The workplace
fatality rate for older workers is three times
higher than that of younger employees. Of
all fatal occupational injuries in 2005, older
workers accounted for 26.4 percent, despite
only comprising 16.4 percent of the workforce
at the time. This is more pronounced for
workers over the age of 65.
There are, however, definite advantages
of an aging workforce. We have a great work
ethic. We have a can-do attitude, strong
loyalty, a reservoir of knowledge, low rate
of absenteeism, and a low rate of risk-taking
behavior. According to the Bureau of Labor,
productivity is increased at worksites where
there is a higher percentage of employees
over 55 years old. Having a multigenerational
workforce allows the generations to learn
from each other, which maximizes workplace
potential and RTW.
"Life is 10 percent what happens
to you and 90 percent how you
respond to it."
- Lou Houltz
Case manager workplace survival skills are
to recognize your worth, keep your sense of
humor, keep things in perspective, embrace
change, stay connected to the industry with
CMSA membership, and always have a plan
B (or C or D).
And take my philosophy: "The pessimist may
be right in the long run, but the optimist has a
better time during the trip."
Kathleen Fraser, RN-BC, MSN, MHA,
President, CMSA National Board of
is the president of
CMSA National, and
a past president of
CMSA Chapter. She
has over 35 years of
and more than 21 years of case management
experience with 20 years in workers'
compensation. Fraser has worked in acute
hospital, long-term care, and insurance
managed care. She can be reached at
Issue 8 * 2015
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2015
The Advantages of an Aging Workforce
CMSA CORPORATE PARTNERS
The Journey to Caseload Management
Featured Resource: Need More Resources on Caseloads?
Attracting and Engaging Tomorrow’s Workforce
Featured Resource: CMSA’s State of the Industry Survey 16
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
CMSA Today - Issue 8, 2015