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Working in Retirement

Companies help older workers stay fit

Though many adults may be approaching retirement age, a large portion of them are expecting to continue working. Whether it be for financial reasons or simply as a way to stay active, the desire adults have to work in retirement means companies will be presented with a growing number of boomers in the workforce. In an effort to keep their workers in good shape, a number of companies are offering programs to ensure their older employees stay physically fit, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Among the companies that offer programs are Duke Energy Corp., which provides its older workers with a stretching program, and Harley Davidson, which has trainers to help treat any physical ailments at one of its engine plants. The programs seem to be popular among the employees, offering individuals and the companies several benefits.

Perhaps most importantly, it allows businesses to keep workers on longer than they may have stayed otherwise. Though it might seem like it would behoove companies to hire younger employees, the older workers bring a wealth of valuable knowledge and skill with them, something that new hires won't have. Not only that, but young employees that do get hired can be mentored by the experienced workers. Despite the advantages, some companies are slow to adapt.

"Frankly, many companies don't get it yet," Joseph Coughlin, the director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the WSJ. "They can't imagine a time when there isn't going to be this endless supply of young people coming through."

Though companies benefit from keeping workers on longer, the employees themselves also have many incentives to stay on the workforce. According to the United States Automobile Association (USAA), among the most significant advantages for the 12 percent of retired Americans who continue working is that it reduces the instances they may rely on investments and savings. Additionally, employees may be able to continue to receive health insurance as well.

The data certainly seems to back up Coughlin's assertion. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a 101 percent jump in the number of people over 65 in the workforce between 1977 and 2007. During that same period, the number of women in that age bracket in the workforce jumped 147 percent.

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