Category: Lifestyle Medicine; Geriatric Rehabilitation
To investigate the association between occupational balance and wellbeing in older adults
A cross-sectional study
The general community
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) :
A total of 2142 older adults (aged 65 and older; 59.61% female) from the American Time-Use Survey (ATUS).
Main Outcome Measure(s) :
Work and leisure time use was reported as amount of time (min) spent on work and leisure activities in the 24-hour day. We used a median split of total time spent on both work and leisure activities to create 4 time-use groups: high work-high leisure = active balanced; high work-low leisure = work-focused; low work-high leisure = leisure-focused; and low work-low leisure = inactive balanced. Wellbeing was rated from 0 (the worst possible life) to 10 (the best possible life).
There were significant differences in wellbeing between each of the time-use groups. The active balanced group showed the highest well-being, next came leisure-focused, work-focused, and inactive balanced groups (F(3, 2138)=467.279, p<.001). The significant differences still existed, except between leisure- and work-focused groups, after controlling for subjective health and well-restedness (F(3, 2136)=472.068, p<.001).
Older adults who actively engaged in both work and leisure occupations had the highest wellbeing, while those with work-leisure imbalance and those who were inactive had lower wellbeing. Balance between work and leisure activities and active engagement with life are crucial for older adults' well-being. Healthcare professionals should support older adults in actively engaging in occupations in a balanced manner.