Business of Aging Summit: Workplace Wellness

Do you understand the opportunities and demands of the 21st century workforce? Are you ready?

The 2012 Business of Aging Summit shared insights from global leaders and leading-edge entrepreneurial solutions – with a call to action – to help harness the talent of our aging workforce and keep employees of all ages healthy and effective.

What do we mean by “aging”?

To determine what “aging” means, start by asking yourself, what age do you consider “old”? The answer varies from one person to the next.

According to our opening keynote speaker, the MIT AgeLab’s Dr. Joseph Coughlin, people generally consider “old” to mean 15-20 years older than they are, which says a lot about how we think about age. And this category is growing, as Canada’s population aged 65+ is expected to double in the next 15 years.

The provocative question Dr. Coughlin posed to participants at Business of Aging was: Now that we’re living much longer, what will we do with all our extra time? His answer: Invent a new way to live, work and play tomorrow.

That was the focus of the 2012 Business of Aging Summit, with an emphasis on keeping Canada’s aging workforce healthy, effective, engaged and available to work.

Panels, presentations and discussions addressed a range of showcased entrepreneur-driven solutions for our aging employees:

  • Caregiving solutions and integrated systems to support home-based care
  • Chronic disease prevention and management tools designed to reverse the trends of absenteeism (and presenteeism) of chronically ill workers
  • Brain health self-assessment and coping tools to manage normal aging
  • Talent management toolkits

Dr. Alain Sotto reminded us that innovative solutions can come from within organizations as well, such as his in-house programming to Educate, Empower, Enable, and Engage employees at OPG and TTC to prevent colorectal cancer.

And in the closing keynote, Nesta’s Geoff Mulgan confirmed what we knew all along: with age comes wisdom, experience and maturity that are invaluable in the workplace. In fact, the success rate for social entrepreneurs aged 50+ is much greater than that of those in their 30s, and the biggest reason these entrepreneurs are starting their own businesses (at least in the UK) is to avoid retirement!

People are living longer – but we want them to also live better, for themselves, for our workplaces and for our society. The opportunity is ours, and we have many of the solutions we need to make the most of it.

The challenge before us is to act on what we know – will you join us?

Read more in our paper, Business of Aging: Wellness solutions for our aging workforce, visit our Flickr page to see photos of the event or watch the event videos.