Other Topics - "Engaged" Aging

Posted: December 11, 2011

Based on Report discussing the Large Difference Between "Involvement" and "Engagement" for Seniors.

Report: Large Difference Between "Involvement" and "Engagement" for Seniors

Summary from the Caregiving Policy Digest. January 25, 2012. Vol. 12, #2

A report from the Sloan Center on Aging and Work suggests that the idea of “just doing it” in reference to seniors and working, volunteering, caregiving, or taking classes may not provide much benefit as compared to seniors who are more deeply engaged in these activities. Using data from the National Institute on Aging's Longitudinal Health and Retirement Study, and AARP, the authors explain that 21% of seniors are working, 21% are volunteering, 20% are caregiving, and 25% report being enrolled in a class in the previous five years. Thirty percent of the respondents were caregiving (childcare and care for a disabled friend or family member), with an average of 71 hours of caregiving per week. The authors conclude: “The results of this part of the survey suggest that being involved in one of the four activities but not feeling particularly excited about it, dedicated to it, or challenged by it - aspects of engagement - is about as good for one's well-being as not being involved in the activity at all. However, the well-being of those who are highly engaged in any of the four activities appears to be considerably enhanced.”

Reference for the article:

James J. B., Besen E., Matz-Costa C., & Pitt-Catsouphes M. (2011). Just do it?… maybe not! Insights on activity in later life from the Life & Times in an Aging Society Study. Chestnut Hill, MA: Sloan Center on Aging & Work, Boston College. Available online as PDF