Time Allocation, Loneliness and Wellbeing in Later Life: The Case of Italy

Annalisa Donno, University of Padova
Maria Letizia Tanturri, University of Padova

As population ages, understanding how to improve the elderly’s well-being increasingly becomes a priority and a societal challenge. It is well known that in old age time use patterns change radically, but how these changes varies between gender and social groups and how they are linked with satisfaction and wellbeing is still mostly unexplored.Time ‘freed up’ from paid work can be reallocated to different, active or passive, activities. The elderly’s daily routines are shaped by several elements: personal characteristics, biological needs, environment, social rhythms. Some of the activities old people perform could not be a voluntary choice, but the result of some limits (poor health, loneliness), determining a gap between personal wishes and effective reality, and influencing the elderly’s well-being.

By using the most recent Italian Time Use Survey (2013-14) we will get an insight in the association between time allocation, loneliness and wellbeing in later life, in a country that is ageing rapidly. The aim of this work is to analyse old people daily life for understanding which factors can affect their wellbeing, by describing patterns of elderly’s time use according to gender, age and social class. We aim at: exploring daily routines for understanding how much ‘active’ old people are, assessing their level of loneliness/isolation, assessing the levels of satisfaction/dissatisfaction old people associate to each daily activity.

To this end Sequence Analysis techniques are used, allowing to find homogeneous time allocation schemes for the identification of typical “profiles of time use” in old ages. Regression models are used to understand which factors influence the risk to be in one of the profiles identified. Moreover, we analyse how those profiles are linked with different level of subjective wellbeing, thus providing a new perspective on old people needs and helping policy makers to design opportune and targeted policies.

Presented in Session 15: Family Dynamics and Health