Senior practice – mental health in the late working life
The Senior Practice-research project examines the well-being and working life of senior employees. We will improve senior working life and retirement transitions to promote mental health among seniors at the Danish labor market. We focus on the production and finance industries, which each are challenged in their own way by with mental health issues and early retention.
Through ethnological methods and involvement with senior employees, we will develop sector specific tools, which can ensure good senior working lives. The purpose is to promote mental health among senior employees in the two very different industries. Therefore, we will create initiatives as flexible senior policies, conversation concepts and transitional rituals, which can improve working lives for seniors and deal with delicacy and age discrimination at the workplaces. Furthermore, we will provide knowledge about senior employees and their mental health in order to promote the debate on demographic developments towards longer working lives and the importance of mental well-being.
International research points out a number of important factors for senior’s retention. For example education, income, physical health and mental health.
Mental health differs from the other factors, since work-related mental health issues can be solved by the labor market and the workplaces. We do not seek to identify mental health as the only factor for retention. Instead, we want to show that mental health plays key role in a complex interaction with a number of other factors. However, we believe that the conditions for mental health is easier to change than issues related to physical health and socio-economic conditions. For example by improving the working environment and creating a more flexible labor market.
During our fieldwork, we conduct semi-structured interviews with senior employees and company executives to gain an understanding of what is important in relation to senior employees' mental well-being and how to support it at the workplace. In addition, we will make participant observations to observe and experience the practice at the workplace. During the fieldwork, we will analyze our data, which consists of transcribed interviews, field notes as well as picture material from the companies involved.
Hereafter we will facilitate three workshops with key stakeholders as the companies, trade unions, pension funds and employers' associations. Based on ideas from the workshops, we will develop initiatives that can improve the mental health of senior employees. For example, flexible senior policies, conversation concepts and transitional rituals. We will also involve the participants in developing strategies and models for scaling the initiatives.
The project’s results will be released on an ongoing basis on this page. At the end of the project, we will release a report with our results. Finally, the project results will be communicated in a podcast during the summer.
Mathiasen Motivation v. Bent Mathiasen.
Expert monitoring group
Anna Paldam Folker, head of Research and Head of the Department of Health and Social Context, The University of Southern Denmark.
Anna Debel, DaneAge Association.
Christian Gaden Jensen, lhead of Center for Mental Health Promotion. Department of Psychology. University of Copenhagen.
Rose Sofie Levinsen, student assistant