Chilvers, R., Corr, S. and Singlehurst, H. (2010) Investigation into the occupational lives of healthy older people through their use of time. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal.57(1), pp. 24-33. 0045-0766.
Background ⁄ aim: Older people are one of the largest groups using health-care services; therefore, it is important for occupational therapists to have an understanding of their occupational lives. Temporality is a key element of occupation, yet little research exists regarding older people and time use, despite the considerable temporal adjustments taking place at this lifestage. The aim of this study was to identify the occupational lives of healthy older people through the activities they undertake in a 24-hour period. Method: Data analysis of time-use diaries from 90 older UK residents (aged 60–85 years) who considered themselves to be healthy was undertaken, using 15 activity codes and three pre-coded terms: necessary, enjoyable and personal. Results: The participants spent most of their time sleeping and resting (34%), followed by performing domestic activities (13%), watching television, listening to the radio or music, or using computers (11%), eating and drinking (9%) and socialising (6%). Enjoyable activities occupied most of their time (42% of the day), followed by necessary (34%) and personal activities (16%). Conclusion: These data contribute to the growing evidence base regarding older people as occupational beings, indicating that they are a diverse group of individuals who are meeting their needs with dynamic, positive activities. This highlights the importance of a client-centred approach to occupational therapy, as it enables the clients to have choice, control and diversity in their activities when meeting their needs.