Against the backdrop of the UK's ageing population and workforce, there is widening economic and social concern about high rates of economic inactivity (early retirement) among people aged 50 and over. Around a fifth of those who leave work early do so because of health complications, with negative consequences for their future health and well-being.
Existing work by the SHAW Project team have found that key barriers to addressing health support for older workers lies: firstly in their lack of understanding of the ways their health affects their work and vice versa; and secondly in being able to communicate their health needs to managers or to navigate the occupational health services that may be on offer to them.
This UKRI Healthy Ageing Challenge Catalyst Award is delivered in partnership with Zinc, and will allow the team to work alongside an exciting new tech start-up called Smplicare, founded by two of our MBA alumni who have expertise in health data collection and modelling. This will ultimately enable the development of an innovative app-based intervention that will help individuals better understand the ways in which their health, work and wider lives interact.
On receiving this award, Wendy Loretto, said: 'We are delighted to have this opportunity to develop the practical impact from our research into health at work and ageing. Helping (older) workers to understand and more effectively communicate their health support needs is a crucial step to stop people feeling pushed out of work before they wish to or can afford to.'