Everyday Activities And Successful Aging

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Pages: 7

Dominique Caparaotta
PSY 323
AduThe Relation between Everyday Activities and Successful Aging
Rowe and Kahn’s (1997) definition of successful aging included active engagement but also having no disease as well as having good physical function. Active engagement is seen as activities that are productive for the person engaging in them (Rowe and Kahn, 1997). These are activities such as volunteering or other activities that have value in and help society. However these activities can also be fun, compelling and simple day to day activities, leisure activities. Menec (2003) and Silverstein and Parker (2002) note that being active in everyday life as well as the frequency of activity are essential for achieving a successful old age.
According to Menec (2003) “activity theory focuses on the link between activity and well-being, more specifically life satisfaction.” The theory suggests that the more one engages in an activity the more they will be satisfied with their life. The theory also suggests the more social the activity, the better the life satisfaction. So the idea is engaging in activities with others brings more satisfaction than engaging in activities alone. Activity level measured was measured based on the number of activities engaged in or the frequency in which one engaged in a few activities. The participants received a 21-item list and were instructed to answer if they participated in each activity in the last week. Life satisfaction was measured with the Life Satisfaction Index A. The LSIA consisted of statements such as “as I grow older, things seem better than I thought they would be”, or “most of the things I do are boring or monotonous” (Connidis, 1984). The participant should have selected agree, unsure or disagree.
Menec (2003) cites Lemon and colleagues (1972) by saying activities should link to life satisfaction, solitary activities would have a lower life satisfaction score though. Solitary activity was positively related to successful aging in women. The article goes on to mention why past studies were rarely longitudinal and, in fact, the majority of studies like this were cross sectional. Cross sectional studies were able to determine causality while longitudinal studies could not.
The purpose of this study was to look at the relation between activity and a few indicators of successful aging. The researchers focused on questions referring to activity level overall and how it relates to well-being and other indicators as well as the link between engaging in specific activities and ones well-being thereafter. Activity was studied in two ways: how many activities one participated in during the previous and which activities related to a certain outcome. Well-being was measured in terms of life satisfaction and happiness.
The studied used a data source called Aging in Manitoba or AIM. The researchers chose to interview all participants in their homes and those who could not answer the questions themselves gave authority to someone to answer for them. The sample size included 1,439 when looking at happiness and 1,208 or life satisfaction, both samples were from 1990 as well as 1996. Most of the proxy responses were not used. The studies predictor variables were age, gender and education. The study also accounted for social support based on living arrangements and number of close friends. Life satisfaction score was obtained with the life Satisfaction Index A (LSIA). The participants were given a checklist with 21items and were asked to indicate what activities they engaged in the last week. With everyone noting that they watch TV, listen to the radio and shop, Menec eliminated them and grouped the last eighteen into three categories: social activities, more solitary activities and productive activities. Social activities were things like traveling or playing sports. Solitary activities included hobbies and productive activities included volunteering or gardening. Happiness was measured with one