Population aging and disability: Implications for vocational rehabilitation practice

Kelly E. Cichy, Mykal Leslie, Phillip D. Rumrill, Lynn C. Koch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The aging of the Baby Boom generation (born 1946-1964) coupled with medical advances and declines in the birth rate have contributed to a growth in the numbers of older adults. Vocational rehabilitation counselors will play an increasingly important role in working to address the unique challenges and opportunities inherent in this demographic shift. OBJECTIVE: The goals of this paper are threefold: 1) to provide an overview of demographic trends and the implications of population aging for individuals, families, and society; 2) to consider the unique implications of specific emerging age-related disabilities; and 3) to describe the changing role of rehabilitation counselors to address the growing needs of the aging population. METHODS: Through a review of the literature on population aging, disability, and vocational rehabilitation, we explored the implications of population aging for rehabilitation counselors. RESULTS: The review revealed implications of population aging for families, for work and retirement, and for health and disability. Rheumatoid arthritis and stroke were found to be among the most significant emerging age-related disabilities due to their prevalence and implications for employment in later life. CONCLUSIONS: The aging of the population has several implications for rehabilitation counselors, and these implications and recommendations for working with older clients and meeting their unique, growing needs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-186
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.


  • Aging
  • disability
  • vocational rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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