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Aging Well: Time Use Patterns of Older Canadians

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Things you should know about the variables

Life satisfaction is measured by a question that asked "Using the same scale, how do you feel about your life as a whole right now?" The scale ranges from 1 - very dissatisfied to 10 - very satisfied. Those who answered 9 or 10 were coded as overall very satisfied with their life.

To measure the respondent's health the question used was " In general, would you say your health is:" with 1 indicating excellent health and 5 indicating poor health. The interviewer is instructed to ensure that the measure of health is capturing long term health problems, i.e., a condition lasting or expected to last more than 6 months.

Typology construction

The level and type of activity is considered to be a key factor in whether individuals 'age well'. One way to measure whether an individual is 'aging well' is to use the question "Are you satisfied overall with your life". This question captures the individual's perception of their ability to find a fit between their activities and their changing resource levels. Health is recognized as one of the key resources to aging well. In reality health is a resource that changes over time and is one that individuals must continually adapt to. Health has also been found to be a strong predictor of the type and level of activity people engage in. Because of this complex relationship between activity levels and 'aging well' a typology has been used which incorporates a measure of overall life satisfaction and health status.

The typology included four categories: healthy and satisfied (H and S), less healthy and satisfied (LH and S), healthy and less satisfied (H and LS) and less healthy and less satisfied (LH and LS). To be considered healthy the respondent must have rated their health as very good or excellent. To be considered satisfied with life overall a score of 9 or 10 from a 10 point scale was used. Activity patterns of older Canadians are examined by cohorts to determine whether patterns change over the life course and whether they vary by levels of satisfaction or health status or both. The terms satisfied and very satisfied are used interchangeably in the text, and both refer to the classification "very satisfied" as defined above.


Average time spent on each activity was calculated using an ANOVA and standard post-hoc tests were applied.

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Date modified: 2006-07-26 Important Notices