mental health. In addition, as a workshop participant pointed out, allied health workers such as occupational therapists are positioned in the gap between physical health and behavioral health.
Nooney called attention to the fact that 62 is a young age for retirement, which raises the issue of how to retool an aging workforce as health care needs evolve. As one example, her hospital has been working to reduce the physical demands of nursing for older workers. If people choose to work past what was once considered retirement age—and many will, for economic reasons—how can they be used most effectively, she asked. Kelly observed that older workers also could play a valuable role in education, but programs need to be established to use their skills and experience for that purpose. Patnosh added that programs are starting to appear both within health care and elsewhere to bring older workers in as “encore fellows” where they contribute in a meaningful way to ongoing projects. “We have seniors within our AmeriCorps project, and starting this year… anybody 55 years or older can do a year of AmeriCorps and give that educational award to a child or grandchild.” Older people tend to have specific reasons for getting involved and are often passionate about their work, he said.