Northern Ireland's Leading Health & Social Care Organisation

Optimum Care Group Signs Age Friendly Employer

Optimum Care

Alex McIntyre, Domiciliary Services Manager, JP Watson, Group Managing Director, Heather Murray, Group Quality and Development Manager

Optimum Care Group has signed the Age-friendly Employer Pledge, a nationwide programme run by the Centre for Ageing Better. By signing the pledge, we are showing our commitment to older workers and making our workplace age-friendly.

Being a part of the pledge means older workers can continue to thrive and provide valued contributions to our organisation. And it means we can benefit from the innovation and productivity boost that multigenerational workforces bring.

At present 23% of our staff are 50 years or older.  As an equal-opportunity employer, we are always looking for ways to improve and diversify our workforce for the benefit of both our staff and clients.  We recently introduced our Menopause policy to support those staff members experiencing such symptoms whilst at work. 

JP Watson, Group Managing Director said, ” I am proud to announce our commitment to fostering an age-friendly workplace by signing the Age-friendly Employer Pledge. This pledge underscores our dedication to supporting older workers and creating an inclusive environment where individuals in their 50s, 60s and beyond can thrive. Where we can all share in and benefit from their valuable experience and knowledge acquired over time. Our introduction of a Menopause policy in recent times further underscores our commitment to supporting all staff members, regardless of age, through life’s transitions.  By taking measurable steps through the Age-friendly Employer Pledge, we are committed to challenging ageist attitudes and creating a culture of inclusivity and respect. I encourage other employers to join us on this journey towards creating age-friendly workplaces.”

Optimum Care’s Community Care Workers, John Loney and Jackie McMaster, proudly endorsed the age-friendly employment initiative, shedding light on their integral roles within the community. John expressed his deep passion for his profession, emphasising the significance of making a positive impact on those in need: “You’re making a difference helping someone who needs help.” Offering advice to prospective community care workers, Jackie highlighted the rewarding nature of the job and the brilliance of their clients, encouraging individuals to pursue this fulfilling career path. Their endorsement underscores Optimum Care’s commitment to fostering an age-friendly work environment and promoting meaningful employment opportunities in the community care sector.

A recent poll commissioned by Ageing Better reveals the scale of ageism in the workplace and demonstrates the urgent need for action. More than a fifth (21%) of UK adults aged 50+ indicated that since turning 50, they had regularly experienced ageist attitudes in the workplace or when applying for roles. And while approximately two thirds (64%) agreed they would feel comfortable in reporting ageist behaviour in the workplace, less than half (42%) said they would be confident any complaint would be taken seriously.

Applicants of all ages bring strength to all job roles; however, we know that staff over the age of 50 can help to bring life experience of caring for others, patience, and empathy to the workforce along with being a positive role model to younger staff members.

Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said:

“The pledge has been designed to support businesses to go on a journey at a pace that works for them. By taking manageable and measurable steps, employers will learn over time what steps they need to take to make the biggest difference in their own organisation.”

“The labour market is changing, and employers are facing huge challenges with skills and labour shortages and near-record vacancy rates. Workers in their 50s and 60s are key to filling these gaps – now, more than ever, the older workforce is the workforce.

“And yet older workers are continuing to leave the labour market in droves. We want to help businesses understand how they can be attractive employers to older workers and reap the benefits of a multigenerational workforce.”

The Centre for Ageing Better supports the network of Age-friendly Employers by providing a full framework of actions to take alongside a range of learning resources and content to help employers make changes within their organisation. Regular newsletters share tips and guidance, while Ageing Better also host webinars where pledged employers can learn and share best practice. Organisations report back to Ageing Better on the progress of their age-friendly actions too.

Optimum Care Group’s decision to sign the Age-friendly Employer Pledge marks a significant milestone in its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and employee well-being. By embracing the principles of age diversity and actively challenging ageist attitudes, the organisation sets a powerful example for others to follow in creating workplaces where individuals of all ages can thrive and contribute meaningfully to shared success.

Age Friendly Employer Pledge

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