Age Segregation

According to this article, age segregation has led to an increase in age discrimination in the workforce, which is both hard to avoid and prove:

“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that the number of age discrimination charges has increased over the past few years, rising from 16,548 charges (21.8% of all claims) in 2006 to 22,778 (24.4% of all claims) in 2009.” (Overman: 2011)

In this week’s reading, it is noted that “In modern societies where social and technological change is pervasive, it also is necessary for younger people to teach the old. If older people do not interact with and learn from younger people, they risk becoming increasingly excluded from contemporary social developments as they age through later life [...] age-integration is needed if all generations are to be productive participants in the society” (Uhlenberg and Gierveld: 2004). Age discrimination is more likely to happen when older workers fail to interact with younger people that can teach them computer and technology skills. To counteract this occurrence, Laurie McCann of AARP advises older workers to “‘Take advantage of any sort of training, especially in computer skills and technology. Make sure you’re not getting behind. Maintain your professionalism, down to your dress and hairstyle.’”(Overman: 2011)

According to this week’s reading, “Retirement in the United States has recently become more flexible, allowing an increasing number of older people to participate in the labour force.” (Uhlenberg and Gierveld: 2004). Unfortunately, current age discrimination may prevent many older and able people from working. Perhaps the creation of inter-generational programs like those mentioned in the reading can help to alleviate the age-segregation which leaves older workers out of mainstream society.

-Kathleen Burfield


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