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Age Related Conditions, Baby Boomers and the Menopause

According to The Office for National Statistics (ONS) 31% of the UK’s working population is made up of 56-71 year old adults. These are men and women born between the years of 1947 and 1964.

It is predicted that these baby boomer employees are likely to stay part of the workforce for at least the next decade.

Further to this, Data published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) gives official figures that show more and more people are choosing to work beyond the pension age.

So, what does this mean for you as an employer?

It is essential that as an employer you consider the wellbeing needs of your employees and address them appropriately.  There will be age related diseases and conditions that affect the baby boomer age group disproportionately to other age groups.

One example of an age related disease that affects men in this age group more than other age groups is prostate cancer. Cancer Research UK states that the incidence rates of prostate cancer rises dramatically from 50 to 54 years of age. This then peaks around the ages of 75 to 79 years old.

Listen to Paul Kilby’s story of how he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of just 50, and how his treatment put him through what he describes as a “year of hell” as the hormones he was given created symptoms very similar to those experienced by many women going through menopause.     Paul Kilby – Dealing With Menopause As A Man – Podcast

Many female baby boomers will have already transitioned through their menopause, however for some women symptoms can continue to be troublesome for a number of years post menopause.

HR News reports that around 66% of women aged between 50 and 64 years of age are still working. Interestingly, the average age for a woman to reach menopause in the UK is 51 years old. This means that as an employer, the menopause is very likely to affect people in your workforce. The research by HR news went on to show that around 25% of women going through the menopause have considered leaving work because of their experience.

So how can you help employees going through their menopause transition and retain the talent you already have in your employ?

There are some practical steps that can be put in place in your business now. For example, good ventilation and access to fans will help some employees. Having the provision for cold drinking water, and clean, well-equipped, comfortable toilet facilities will be a good step in supporting your employees too. Think about ways you can further support employees with lighter workplace clothing or non-synthetic uniform for example. A reduction of exposure to noise will help, as will quiet workplace rest areas.

We would recommend that you consider a clear sickness policy for all employees. By creating something that is crystal clear on the processes surrounding all illnesses and the support available, you will be giving your employees the peace of mind that they know what to do if they are not coping or need extra help.

Why not build in a process for gender specific illnesses to be reported to someone of the same gender? A small addition like this can make an employee’s situation much easier to deal with and will remove some of the taboo and embarrassment that they might feel.

Could you offer employees a 24/7 GP and psychological wellbeing helpline or menopause training support sessions for example? Menopause training could be completed by line managers so they are better prepared to help their colleagues and team members through the menopause?

By putting actions in place to help and support employees with age related diseases and conditions will not only help you retain the great talent built in your business. It will also help boost team morale and could reduce the amount of sickness-related absences too.

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