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Framework for Considering Productive Aging and Work

Schulte, Paul, A., PhD; Grosch, James, PhD; Scholl, Juliann, C., PhD; Tamers, Sara, L., PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 5 - p 440–448
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001295

Objectives: The U.S. population is experiencing a demographic transition resulting in an aging workforce. The objective of this article is to elucidate and expand an approach to keep that workforce safe, healthy, and productive.

Methods: This article elucidates the framework for the National Center for Productive Aging at Work of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Subject matter experts used a snowball method to review published literature to substantiate elements in the framework.

Results: Evidence-based literature supports a productive aging framework for the workforce involving the following elements: 1) life span perspective; 2) comprehensive and integrated approaches to occupational safety and health; 3) emphasis on positive outcomes for both workers and organizations; and 4) supportive work culture for multigenerational issues.

Conclusion: The productive aging framework provides a foundational and comprehensive approach for addressing the aging workforce.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio (Drs Schulte, Grosch, Scholl, Tamers).

Address correspondence to: Paul A. Schulte, PhD, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, Mailstop C-14, Cincinnati, OH 45226 (

This work was conducted as federal employment. The findings and conclusions of this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Endnote: 1 While “intergenerational” and “multigenerational” are terms sometimes used interchangeably in the literature, the authors focus on aging across rather than within generations and therefore speak to multigenerational issues.

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine