What does the pope's resignation mean for older workers?

As RetirementHomes.com reported last week, when Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement – the first pope to do so in 600 years – analysts began speculating about the possible causes of his resignation, from suspected diseases to scandals.

Pope Benedict XVI has younger potential pontiffs waiting to succeed himAs reported by Bloomberg.com, when the 85 year-old pontiff abdicated his position, it raised the issue of how much business leaders in their 80s and 90s are able to continue leading companies and organizations, in spite of their advanced age.

Although life expectancies in the developed world have never been higher in history – with people living to nearly 80 years on average – experts say the human body does see changes with age.

“The prevalence of significant cognitive and functional problems does increase dramatically in the mid-80s,” Leo Cooney, chair of geriatrics at Yale School of Medicine, told Bloomberg.com. “It’s probably a good idea to reassess one’s ability to be in positions of power at that time.”

Still, not all analysts and experts on aging say the pope’s decision will be good for older people. Thomas Kirkwood, associate dean for aging at Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, told the news source that the pope stepping down will serve to confirm stereotypes of older people as feeble and unable to work.

What do you think? Does the pope’s resignation help or hurt seniors and older workers? Tell us about it in the comment section below: