Has the way your senior spends his or her day changed over the years?
Do they sleep more or less than they did in their younger years?
Do they socialize more or less?
Has their enjoyment of time spent on activities improved or declined?
Do they feel content with their life or do they hope for something different as they age?
Time Use Survey
The American Time Use Study, performed annually by the US Department of Labor, tracks how we spend our days. Almost 11,000 people were surveyed and asked to keep a diary of their days activities.
They found some interesting details about us and what we do at all ages and paths in life.
It seems that, on average, we are all spending less time working. This number may be declining due to the increasing number of people who aren’t in the workforce. The surveyors report that those with jobs are actually working more and spending less time in leisure pursuits.
That means fewer of us are working but those that have jobs are working harder.
Family caregivers can understand that concept!
They also found that, since the recession of 2007, both men and women work less per day. Perhaps more of those who are employed have been cut back to part time status.
Trading Work Time for Sleep and Activities
In contrast, we are spending more time sleeping. This doesn’t seem to comes as a big surprise to us, considering the attention sleep has gotten over the past year, with experts urging us all to get more restorative sleep.
On average, we spend about 5 hours 13 minutes each day on activities of leisure such as exercise, watching TV and socializing.
Those without jobs are sleeping more than 10 hours a day.
The concern among researchers seems to be the split between the time people who don’t work have on their hands and those who are working with less free time.
People without jobs due to retirement or unemployment — or because they choose to not work — spend more time than those with jobs on household duties.
Not surprisingly, women still do more of the household chores than men, but men are doing more than they did in years past. Men also spend less time completing these duties than women, even when the same task is done.
People over 65 reported spending about 10 hours a day on sleep and personal care. They also said they spend about 7 hours and 14 minutes a day on leisure activities, predominantly watching TV.
Your Senior’s Day
While the results of the time survey are not shocking, it could help family caregivers focus some attention on the daily life of our seniors.
Are our senior loved ones doing what they enjoy or are they bored?
Are they eating and sleeping as they should to maintain their health?
Are they staying physically active each day to avoid muscle loss, imbalance and risk for falls?
Knowing the answers to these questions doesn’t help our seniors, though, unless we act on the answers to help them make positive changes.
You can help them set up a routine in their day so that they can do more of the things they want to and need to do and spend less time idoing things that don’t benefit them.