Employers are being encouraged to implement age-related health and wellbeing support to ensure women are effective in the workplace.
It is designed to ensure each demographic has the support it needs depending on their age and health issues they may face.
The call is being made by Towergate Health & Protection who said women in their twenties may benefit from specific advice on nutrition and exercise, in their thirties it may be about fertility, in their forties help and advice on the menopause and in their fifties and sixties wellbeing support can be tailored to screening, specialist support and counselling for increased health risks.
Debra Clark, head of specialist consulting at Towergate Health & Protection, said: “Women have different health and wellbeing requirements depending on their age and life stage.
“Support from employers needs to be tailored to reflect this.
“The health and wellbeing needs of a young woman in her 20s will differ significantly to those of a female colleague in her 50s.
“Employers should ensure they have good all-round support that takes into account female-specific health issues.”
Towergate also believes women in their twenties may need advice on managing their menstrual cycle, have their first smear test and be encouraged with education and information on the importance of this screening.
The average age of a first-time mother in the UK is 30.9 years so the advice is for women in their thirties to get health and wellbeing help with a number of factors related to fertility – whether that be tests and procedures that can have a massive impact on a woman’s wellbeing physically, mentally, financially, and socially or support through the stages of pregnancy, birth, and the challenges of becoming a new parent.
Towergate believes the greater support an employer can provide – such as private medical insurance (PMI), cash plans, virtual GPs and employee assistance programmes (EAPs) – the easier the return to work may become.
It is advised that support for women in their forties should be personalised menopause advice to deal with the challenges of this time. Other actions could be flexible working, relaxing uniform rules, providing a desk fan or access to a GP or specialist to provide advice on lifestyle and treatment options.
Employers may also start to offer breast cancer screening for women aged 40 plus.
For women in their fifties the likelihood of some illnesses, such as diabetes and some cancers, can increase with age. Screening, specialist support and counselling can be made available through employers and this can continue for women in their sixties – who are more likely to suffer from chronic, or ongoing, health conditions, including arthritis, osteoporosis and high blood pressure.
Support that can be made available includes access to a GP – whether face-to-face or online – screening and early intervention, physio, musculoskeletal support and rehabilitation, fast-track access to counselling, as well as social and financial support and advice.
Towergate believes employers need to be aware of all the possibilities and open to all the options whether they are available as standalone provision or as added-value items within other employee benefits.