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Do we need a longevity test and what might it mean for working longer?

by on June 4, 2015

My great-aunt Miriam celebrated her 105th birthday this week!  Not only did she get a card from the Queen (which apparently was much nicer than the one she got when she turned 100) but also one from the Department of Work and Pensions.  We joked that they might have included a note asking for a refund because she has lived so long!  We have all got rather used to this remarkable woman who is as bright as ever and seems destined for many more birthday cards from the Queen.

But want if we wanted to know how long we were likely to live?  Suddenly there seem to be a raft of internet tests that let you see what your likely life expectancy is.  Here’s one in the US as featured in Business Insider whereas in the UK the Guardian reports on ‘Ubble’ on which the website helpfully includes the tab ‘Lay Summary’, which quite frankly is still rather confusing.  Both the these articles highlight that the idea behind these sorts of questionnaires is for individuals to see what factors they might address to improve their life expectancy.  I don’t know if sitting down too much is in there yet but I am sure after the recent news coverage it must be added to this list soon.

Health questionnaires have had a  place in some job recruitment processes for many years, and have been an established part of the sales process of certain financial products for even longer.  But with a new raft of questionnaires emerging we have to wonder what these might mean for employees of all ages, but particularly for older workers.


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