The Daily Activities of the Community-Dwelling Elderly: Evidence from the American Time Use Survey

09/01/2006

Building on recent advances in the conceptualization of disability, this report uses data on how older Americans spend their time to provide insights into enhancements to common survey measures of activity limitation and participation restrictions experienced in late life. The authors use the 2003-2005 waves of the American Time Use Survey to assess how well the common ADL and IADL instruments capture the common activities of daily life. The analysis finds several areas of activity participation that are not commonly measured but may be important features of independent living and makes suggestions for how these activities might be included in surveys. These include several "quality of life" activities like socializing with others, travel and leisure, administrative activities like handling the mail/e-mail, home repairs or arranging for and using services, "helping" activities like volunteering and caring for others, and self care activities like physical exercise and health-related self-care.

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