Title

The Meanings of Work for Older Workers

Publication Date

Spring 2007

Journal

Generations

Volume

31

Issue

1

First Page

23

Last Page

30

Abstract

Several elements influence the meanings of work: the basic psychological processes of aging; the cohort or generation of the worker; the ecology of the work itself; and the larger social context of managing the risks of aging. This article discusses the meaning of work across the lifespan, and then reviews each of these elements to describe the meanings of work for older workers. The authors summarize data from multiple sources to answer several related questions: Why do older workers continue to work—beyond the solely monetary motivation? How do older workers' meanings of work vary by financial, health, job satisfaction, familial, or workplace concerns? What are the implications of these findings for employers and employees?

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