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Mature Age Job Seekers – Beating the Bias

June 12, 2016 by · Comments Off on Mature Age Job Seekers – Beating the Bias
Filed under: General 

Australian business is starting to see the light when it comes to their hiring policies for mature aged employees, and the positive impact they can have on the workplace. A brief visit to main street shopping centre and you will begin to see a few more weathered faces at work than you would have seen a few years ago.

However, if you scratch below the surface, you begin to see this trend still has a long way to play out. A few older workers get hired into the senior ranks where experience and maturity are greatly valued, more older workers are now being hired at the lower end of the corporate scale into unskilled roles, however the numbers being hired into the mid tier ranks remains low.

This barbell approach to hiring mature workers at the top and bottom of an organisation reflects an ongoing bias that remains difficult to overcome. A company is a microcosm of society, and in a perfect world employers should (within reason) seek diversity in the workplace and value skill, experience and aptitude, regardless of age, race or gender.

Unfortunately, we live in a far from perfect world. When it comes to mature aged workers they tend to be penalised on two fronts. Often the first to be made redundant in uncertain economic times, this setback is then compounded when they are regularly overlooked for someone younger as they begin searching for a new job.

As a result of these two biases towards mature aged job seekers, once out of work, the journey back can often be long and arduous. This is reflected in RBA statistics which indicate long-term unemployment at approximately 40% for those aged 45-64, compared to about 25% for those aged between 25 and 44.

So what are the reasons employers provide for not hiring mature aged workers? Typically, reasons include being overqualified or over-experienced. Taken at face value being overqualified or experienced might not seem so bad, but when you hear the same reason trotted out time and again, it becomes less palatable.

Openly negative feedback from employers tend to include perceptions that mature aged workers are not as IT savvy, do not possess the latest skills, or are not as flexible as their younger counterparts. While these reasons may hold true in many instances, many of the older job seekers I speak to, believe these are often used as convenient excuses to exclude them.

Employer feedback that you are not likely to hear include concerns about health (and subsequent cost) or worse insecurity. There are many poor managers in the workplace that may be intimidated by the experience a mature applicant brings to the role. Rather than leveraging the knowledge and experience an older worker can bring to the workplace, the insecure hirer is concerned about the potential competition, and the presence of someone who may know more than they do.

Dealing with many of these preconceived concerns and fears remains an ongoing challenge for the mature aged job seeker. Perhaps the following facts should be mandatory reading for hiring managers. These facts debunk many of the concerns and myths that persist in the workplace relating to mature aged workers;

    • Mature aged workers can deliver cost savings to employers through increased retention rates. For example, workers over 55 are five times less likely to change jobs compared to workers aged 20-24, reducing both recruitment and training costs. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006)Labour Mobility Survey,
    • Mature workers can deliver an average net benefit of $1956 per year to their employer compared to other workers due to high retention rates, lower rates of absenteeism, decreased recruitment costs and greater return on investment.Business, Work and Ageing (2000) Profiting from Maturity: The Social and Economic Costs of Mature Age Unemployment
    • Australians are living longer and are healthier.2005 ABS survey found the proportion of Australians aged 55-64 reporting their health as ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ was 75.5% – an increase of four per cent since 1995. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2004-05
    • Mature workers were the least likely group to take days off due to their own illness or as a carer. In the two week period prior to the survey nearly half the number of mature workers had days off compared to workers aged 25-34. ibid
    • ABS data shows that Australians aged 55-64 are the fastest growing users of information technology. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2005) Year Book Australia,
  • Australian Health Management which examined the daily work habits of 4000 employees found that workers aged 55 years and over performed at their best for approximately seven hours out of an eight-hour day-an achievement that other workers in the study were unable to match. Australian Health Management (2006), Baby boomers give employers a bang for their buck

While government has been doing its part to address mature aged unemployment through initiatives like DEEWR Experience+, the introduction of the Age Discrimination Act (2004) and appointment of an Age Discrimination Commissioner, it remains imperative that older job seekers directly address some of these age bias issues themselves if they are to enhance their prospects for employment.

Following are some helpful hints that mature aged workers can utilise to make themselves more appealing to employers and thus improve their chances of a speedy return to the workforce;

Government or Community Assistance– Take advantage of government or community based initiatives and assistance. There is a considerable amount of free information and assistance available, and I would strongly recommend looking into these resources. For example, the DEEWR “Experience+” initiative provides free career planning and advice for over 45’s until June 2016, along with an Assistance Program delivering refresher and basic training in IT and social media applications.

Value Proposition– Whether writing your resume or cover letter, or sitting in an interview, ensure the focus of discussion clearly remains on the value that you can bring to an organisation. Discuss how you can help, what you have done in the past and what you can deliver going forward. Outline how your experience might bring special insights and perspectives that other candidates may not possess.

Training– Undertake relevant training or up-skilling. Keeping ‘up to date’ is critical if you expect serious consideration for any position, especially if there is a technical element. The benefit will be that an employer will see that you have not fallen behind and therefore will not require retraining, along with any associated cost.

Resume– You will need a properly structured and well written resume to be considered for most roles. Use an appropriate resume style that is tailored to your strengths, skills and experience. Also ensure primary focus of your resume is on the last 5-10 years (include older information where pertinent). Think about getting assistance from a professional resume writer, whocan add significant value if you are looking to ‘get it right the first time’.

Age Bias – To counter potential impact of age bias, you will need to carefully address the following with any potential employer;

Health– Don’t hesitate to communicate your good health and fitness to potential employers at opportune moments. Inform them if you play sport, run, walk or go to the gym regularly. This should allay any potential concerns about health.

IT Savvy –Take every opportunity to indicate your IT capability. Whether it’s your ability to use specialised systems, the MS Office suite or even your use of Facebook or Twitter, this will highlight your ability to embrace new technology.

Adaptability – Highlight your adaptability in the workplace, providing actual examples where appropriate. If you don’t know something, indicate you are keen to learn (and not that you wouldn’t know where to start). Highlighting your adaptability will help to dispel concerns of rigidness and inflexibility.

Team Player –Communicating that you work well as part of a team is critical. It shows a willingness to take direction and work for the common good, and can present you as less threatening, especially if the hirer feels concerned by a mature more experienced candidate.

Be Positive –Though you need to be fully prepared to discuss negative issues, make every attempt to keep the discussion on a positive footing. Unless specifically requested, there is no need to volunteer information of a negative nature.

While industry is beginning to see the light when it comes to acceptance of mature aged workers, the pace of change remains slow. While providence is on the right side due to the ageing Australian population and the inevitable necessity to hire older workers, the fact remains that age discrimination is still entrenched in much current thinking.

As a result, dealing with age bias will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. However with the combination of positive government policy, changing attitudes and a proactive attitude to making oneself more appealing to employers (as outlined above), the situation is not without promise.

Honing your individual approach and message will take time and effort. To strike the right balance the mature job seeker will need to walk a fine line between sounding experienced, but not old, adaptable, but not inflexible and appear keen, not desperate. There is no magic formula for success except practice, perseverance and occasionally seeking help where necessary.

A.J. Bond, is the proprietor of Absolute Resume Writing Services ( http://absoluteresume.com.au ), an Australian based consultancy specializing in the provision of Resume and Cover Letter writing services.

Absolute Resume assists a broad range of job seekers to find their preferred roles, including mature aged job seekers, individuals out of work for a period of time and those made redundant.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7334746

Task Force evidence reviews suggests that one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms could benefit older men

January 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

A one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm in men 65 years or older is associated with decreased AAA rupture and AAA-related mortality rates, according to a new review being published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

AAA is a weakening in the wall of the infrarenal aorta resulting in localized dilation, or ballooning, of the abdominal aorta. A large proportion of AAAs are asymptomatic until a rupture develops, which is generally acute and often fatal (up to 83 percent of patients die before hospitalization). Risk factors for AAA include advanced age, male sex, smoking, and a family history, with smoking being the most important modifiable risk factor.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed published evidence to update its previous recommendation on screening for AAA. The reviewers found convincing evidence that screening men aged 65 and older decreased AAA-related mortality rates by approximately 50 percent over 13 to 15 years. Determining the most effective and efficient approaches to population-based AAA screening was an important goal of the review.

Continue reading here:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/271716.php

Quality of Nation’s Nursing Homes Improving under Five-Star Quality Rating System

July 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Articles 

 

Quality of Nation’s Nursing Homes Improving under Five-Star Quality Rating System

Three States Lagging, Study Finds

DURHAM, NCThe quality of nursing homes has improved in most states and in the District of Columbia since the 2008 implementation of the Five-Star Quality Rating System by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an Abt Associates’ analysis finds.

The study shows that between 2009 and 2011, the percentage of nursing homes with an overall five-star rating, or much better than average quality, increased in all but three states and the proportion with a one-star rating, or much below average quality, dropped as well. There are more than 15,500 nursing homes in the country, and all of them are rated with between one and five stars.

“Between 2009 and 2011, the percentage of nursing homes with a four- or five-star rating grew in every state except for Hawaii, Montana, and Idaho,” said Alan White, Ph.D., a principal associate at Abt Associates who worked with CMS to develop the rating system. “While we don’t know the extent to which the existence of the rating system itself has led to this improvement, most nursing home operators pay close attention to their ratings and seem to be motivated to improve them. Some use their ratings as part of their marketing efforts, branding their facilities as ‘five-star’ nursing homes.”

White said the Five-Star Quality Rating System was created to help consumers, their families, and caregivers more easily compare nursing homes when visiting CMS’s Nursing Home Compare website.  There they can learn about a facility’s overall performance rating and how it performs in three separate domains—health inspection surveys, staffing, and quality measures. The ratings are updated monthly.

While there has been an 8% increase in four-and five-star facilities in overall performance nationwide between 2009 and 2011, five states stand out as experiencing the greatest change in their proportion of nursing homes with a four- and five-star overall rating. These are Delaware, Tennessee, Georgia, Oregon and Indiana. The percentage of Delaware’s five-star facilities jumped by nearly 23%; Tennessee’s by about 16%; Georgia’s by nearly 15%; and Oregon’s and Indiana’s each by about 14%.

In addition to overall performance, the study provides state ratings in each of the performance domains. Health inspection ratings are drawn from standard and complaint surveys over three years, White said, explaining that nursing homes are inspected every 12 months on average to ensure they are following state and federal regulations.

“The inspection surveys provide a comprehensive assessment of the nursing home, examining such areas as kitchen/food service, medication management, proper skin care, and the safety, functionality, cleanliness and comfort of the environment.” White said.  “If an inspection team finds that a nursing home doesn’t meet a specific standard, it issues a deficiency citation, and the health inspection rating is based on the number and severity of deficiencies cited by surveyors.”

The staffing rating, said White, is based on the number of hours of care on average provided to each resident each day by nursing staff.  “The ratings consider differences in how sick the nursing home residents are in each nursing home, since that makes a difference in how many staff members are needed.”

The quality measures rating is an assessment of nine different physical and clinical measures for nursing home residents that indicates how well nursing homes perform on important dimensions of care related to each resident’s functioning and health status.

While the Five-Star Quality Rating System can help consumers, their families and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily, White cautioned that it cannot address all of the considerations that go into deciding which nursing home is best for a particular individual. “The rating system is an excellent tool but it should be used in combination with other sources of information, including an onsite visit, in making nursing home placement decisions,” he said.

If you would like to interview Dr. Alan White, please contact Sandy Cogan at (301) 347-5913 or (202) 617-0123 or sandy_cogan@abtassoc.com.

About Abt Associates

Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators.  The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries. www.abtassociates.com

CONTACT:

Sandy Cogan

Sandy_Cogan@abtassoc.com

301-347-5913

  • Senior Industry Network Group Events

    Monthly SING Meetings are held the first Thursday of every month at our NEW location below:

    Desert Canyon - HealthSouth
    9175 W. Oquendo Rd.
    Las Vegas, NV 89148

    S.I.N.G. Agenda:
    - Coffee and bagels will be served
    - A time to show gratitude by thanking those who have sent you referrals
    - Announcements around the room
    - One minute commercials
    - Open Discussion on topics of Self Empowerment

    * When? The 1st Thursday of every month. Networking starts at: 8:00am | Meeting starts at: 8:30am

    * How Much? It’s free!