The aging population is at a state of development that is not as focused on employment, and thus has difficulty finding its place in a society that defines people by their careers. Research is needed on the issues of aging workers, such as training needs, career transition issues, and retirement planning. Research is also needed on which accommodations, workplace modifications, and changes to policies and practices positively impact the retention and continued productivity of an aging workforce. Counselor practitioners are in a unique position to contribute to needed research design conceptualization, metrics, and analyses to test the multiplicity of interventions we will be exploring in the coming years to keep our aging workforce healthy and intellectually engaged in the employment environment. Counselors are experientially qualified to provide the needed services to keep this population productive and more fully engaged in their communities and continuing employment.
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The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF; World Health Organization [WHO], 2001), and its predecessors the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (ICIDH and ICIDH - 2; WHO, 1980, 1999) have been influential in the conceptualization of the construct of disability in the United States and internationally for more than three decades. This chapter begins with a brief overview of the history of classification of health and illness, and the role that different conceptualizations of disability have played along the way. It then reviews the development of the ICF within the context of these conceptualizations and introduces its key concepts, conceptual framework, and a brief orientation to its use. It concludes with consideration of the current and future impact of the ICF on conceptualizing psychological and social aspects of illness and disability.