Conceptualisation of ageing in relation to factors of importance for extending working life - a review

Scand J Public Health. 2016 Jul;44(5):490-505. doi: 10.1177/1403494816636265. Epub 2016 Mar 14.


Aim: The aim of this study was to explore and understand the complexity of ageing in relation to factors of importance for extending working life.

Method: Discourse analysis of documents was used in an integrative review including 128 articles.

Result: Four different conceptualisation of ageing are shown to affect older workers' ability to extend their working life: (a) biological ageing people's health in relation to their physical and mental work environment, their pace of work and recuperation needs; (b) chronological ageing statutory retirement age and policies and economic incentives devised for older workers by society, unions and organisations/enterprises; (c) social ageing inclusion in different social groups, the attitude of managers, organisations and family members, the leisure activities and surrounding environment; and (d) mental/cognitive ageing self-crediting, motivating and meaningful activities, competence and skills in working life. CONCLUSIONS SOCIETIES TODAY FOCUS MOSTLY ON CHRONOLOGICAL AGEING AND ARE LOOKING TO INCREASE THE RETIREMENT AGE WITH REGARD TO STATUTORY PENSION SYSTEMS, EG BEYOND 65 YEARS OF AGE THE INTER-RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN CHRONOLOGICAL, MENTAL, BIOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL AGEING AND THE NINE AREAS IDENTIFIED AS BEING IMPORTANT TO OLDER WORKERS IN THESE RESPECTS NEED TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN AIMING TO PROVIDE A SUSTAINABLE WORKING LIFE FOR THE INCREASING NUMBERS OF OLDER WORKERS IN MODERN SOCIETY THE THEORETICAL MODEL DEVELOPED IS A CONTRIBUTION TO THE CRITICAL DEBATE THAT CAN BE APPLIED BY SOCIETIES, EMPLOYERS AND MANAGERS IN ORDER TO PROVIDE OLDER WORKERS WITH AN INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE EXTENDED WORKING LIFE.

Keywords: Ageing; age management; competence and skills; economic; family and leisure pursuits; health; motivation and work satisfaction; older workers; physical and mental work environment; retirement; working hours and rest.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Retirement
  • Social Values