The knowledge and experience of the elderly must be explored if Europe is to cope with ageing populations, a report from the European Commission has said.
The 'Population ageing in Europe' study calls for an investment in the elderly's ‘human capital’, and for measures to be put in place that would extend the working lives of the elderly.
Lifelong learning is suggested as a means of extending the capital worth of Europe’s elderly workers. The report states that cognitive abilities needed for work do not begin to decline until after 70, but that this could be delayed if ageing minds are challenged by education.
“Good working conditions, preventive health services and access to training not only improve job quality, but also help postpone retirement,” it says.
Elderly workers are more at risk from a lack of investment in lifelong learning, and employers must incorporate working processes and training to accommodate their needs.
This group is also at risk of employment discrimination. However, the report states that actual productivity decline related to age is much smaller than the decline perceived by employers in many cases.