Skip to main content

Study reveals how seniors spend their time

July 10, 2013

Retirement means a lot of different things to the senior population. While some older adults focus on joining clubs and classes at their retirement communities, others may be more interested in hitting the links or volunteering. Whatever route they choose, one thing that all seniors share is a greater amount of free time since they've left the workforce. The annual American Time Use Survey, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, helps shed light on exactly how seniors spend their leisure time.

Work around the home
One of the biggest differences between older and younger populations is how much time they spend performing tasks around the home. Specifically, the general population spends about one hour, and 44 minutes each day on activities such as food preparation, gardening and general housework. However, adults between 65 and 74 spend about two hours and 32 minutes doing so. This could be due to a number of factors, but experts speculate it has to do with the fact that retired individuals can take a more leisurely pace when doing housework.

"They have the time to do so, so they spend more time on housework and food preparation, whereas other people would be trying to cram them into their day to make time for work," Laura Wronski, an economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics, told U.S. News and World Report.

Time with friends
Social engagement is a crucial component of healthy aging. There is ample evidence suggesting that an active social life is closely tied to an improved quality of life, so it should come as no surprise that many seniors make sure to spend time with friends and family during retirement when they have more time to spend freely. The BLS found adults between 65 and 74 spent about 45 minutes each day socializing, while the overall population committed just 37 minutes to doing the same.

Getting active
It may seem unlikely that older adults would exercise more than their younger counterparts, but the BLS found that to be the case. Adults 65 and older exercised an average of 22 minutes a day, and although that's a bit below the recommended 30 minutes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is more than the population as a whole.