Fighting Against Ageism
Ageism is defined as prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age. When it comes to seniors, ageism can be more prominent when compared to the younger generation, nevertheless, a lot of opportunities live within the older generation that should not be overlooked.
Technology changes on a daily basis. Even industry experts can feel overwhelmed or out of the loop when it comes to understanding the newest features and releases but it’s adapting them to the older generations which prove to be the most challenging.
Thomas Wellner is president and CEO of Revera Inc. and he believes “Seniors, healthier and living longer than ever before, are a growing and remarkably diverse market, as well as a highly experienced talent pool.” Wellner continues with:
“Today’s older adults also represent, somewhat ironically, a new employee demographic that businesses have yet to value. In my experience working with seniors— and I have a fair bit, given that more than 500 people over age 65 work in the company I lead, and our oldest employee, chief elder officer Hazel McCallion, is 96 — they bring enthusiasm, experience, knowledge, and loyalty to their jobs.”
Wellner raises some very interesting points in this article. Some of the exact reasons many companies and businesses overlook the senior market as candidates are the reasons they should actually be considering them. A big factor Wellner mentions is the “Knowledge and Loyalty to their jobs”. Having an employee with skills and moral values that cannot necessarily be taught in a training room can sometimes far exceed some extra training that may be required on the technology side.
Seniors are also excellent candidates because of their enthusiasm. Some technology based positions may involve what younger generations would consider mundane tasks, but the excitement and passion a senior possesses when honing in on new skills cannot be surpassed.
According to recent research, “ageism is Canada’s most tolerated form of social discrimination. It’s at the heart of every assumption we make about seniors as customers and as workers. Tackling ageism means taking a hard look at our own attitudes and organizational cultures, then taking tangible steps to address it.”
Since the baby boomers still consume a very large portion of our population, it would seem a complete shame to pass up offering and encouraging opportunities simply based on age and a slight gap in technological knowledge. Especially, when developing applications designed for seniors, include seniors in the feedback process as they have insights that shouldn’t be overlooked by other stakeholders.
For us, the seniors that we encounter in our homes have shown a great interest in exploring new opportunities and bridging the learning gap to become a more active participant in the ever-changing world around them. The Continyou Care solution was built with the intent to help improve the experience of seniors at homes while making it a very user-friendly for them so that they understand its purpose. Building user-friendly applications are crucial to inclusion across generations.
This article is in response to: Fighting ageism to unlock seniors’ potential in your business on the Globe and Mail