Senior Aged

Older workers are an important segment of the federal workforce and often bring valuable experience and institutional knowledge to their role. The average age of Federal employees is increasing each year as baby boomers age. Many of those individuals will continue to work after age 65.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires employers to accommodate people with disabilities. A person has a disability if “he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities” (EEOC). In some cases, their disability may be related to aging, such as hearing loss. In others, the employee may have had a lifelong disability, which changes or is exacerbated by aging.

Age-related limitations can involve a wide range of conditions, impacting vision, cognition, communication, hearing and dexterity. The same assistive technology accommodations CAP provides for employees with life-long disabilities can be provided to employees with newly acquired age-related disabilities.

As age-related disabilities may come on gradually and change over time, employees may not be aware that there are assistive technology accommodations available, some even within their existing computer environment. Helping aging workers understand optimal ergonomics and built in technology options is a first step. Education about the range of technology options available for employees and how they can help workers be successful is also critical.

Many accommodations for aging workers don’t include technology at all, like a flexible work schedule, for example. The Job Accommodation Network offers information about a wide range of accommodations for aging workers, as well as some example scenarios of suggested accommodations.

To see this article and more from Computer/Electronic Accomodations Program (CAP), please visit:

Accomodation Ideas for Senior Aged Empoyees

Activities of Daily Living


Allow use of a personal attendant at work

Reduce or eliminate physical exertion and workplace stress

Allow use of a service animal at work

Schedule periodic rest breaks away from the workstation

Make sure the facility is accessible

Allow a flexible work schedule and flexible use of leave time

Move workstation closer to the restroom

Provide parking close to the work-site and an accessible entrance

Allow longer breaks or more frequent, shorter breaks

Install automatic door openers

Refer to appropriate community services

Provide an accessible route of travel to other work areas used by the employee

Provide access to a refrigerator

Move workstation close to other work areas, office equipment, and break rooms

  Allow a self-paced workload


Gross Motor Impairment: Hearing Limitations:

Modify the work-site to make it accessible

Provide visual or tactile alerting device

Provide parking close to the work-site

Implement a buddy system

Provide an accessible entrance

Provide an assistive listening device (ALD)

Install automatic door openers

Provide communication access real-time translation (CART)

Provide an accessible restroom and break room

Provide computer-assisted note taking    

Provide an accessible route of travel to other work areas used by the employee

Address environmental factors, i.e., background noise, lighting, and positioning 

Modify the workstation to make it accessible

Provide an interpreter

Adjust desk height if wheelchair or scooter is used

Use Web-based meeting software or video conferencing

Make sure materials and equipment are within reach range

Provide standard note taking or other text information

Move workstation close to other work areas, office equipment, and break rooms

Allow tape recording of meetings

Provide lifting devices and carts

Provide speech recognition software / Close Captioning


Maintaining Concentration:

Muscle Pain and Stiffness:

Reduce distractions in the work area

Implement ergonomic workstation design, i.e., ergonomic chair and adjustable

Provide space enclosures or a private office

Use a workstation to alternate between sitting and standing

Make sure materials and equipment are within reach range

Reduce repetitive tasks or interrupt the tasks with other duties

Allow the employee to play soothing music using a cassette player and headset

Provide carts and lifting aids

Increase natural lighting or provide full spectrum lighting

Modify work-site temperature and/or dress code  

Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and steps

Use fan/air-conditioner or heater at the workstation

Plan for uninterrupted work time / Restructure job to include only essential functions

Allow work from home during extremely hot or cold weather


Psychological Aspects of Aging (Depression and Anxiety):

Vision Limitations:

Provide sensitivity training to coworkers

Magnify written material using hand/stand/optical magnifiers

Allow telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for support

Provide large print material or screen reading software

Provide information on counseling and employee assistance programs

Control glare by adding a glare screen to the computer / Install proper office lighting

Allow time off for medical treatment

Allow frequent rest breaks



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U.S. Department of Commerce

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Page last updated August 8, 2014