The conversations of life

Did you know the average US retiree watches 48 hours of TV every week?


That’s despite older adults having more time to have fun – seven-and-a-half hours a day compared to 35- to 44-year-olds, who only have around four hours according to a 2016 study.

Why? Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, a consulting firm on age-related issues, says he suspects most of us just don’t know how to fill that time.

We’ve spent the last few decades working, paying off mortgages and looking after children and parents. Fun is not ‘productive’ and so we put it to one side.

Making time for play

However studies have found older adults who make time for ‘play’ are more relaxed and optimistic and better able to cope with psychological stress.

So how can you put more fun back into your life?

The experts say you should ask yourself these questions:

  • What makes you happy?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • What activities did you do in your youth?

Of course some of us don’t have as much free time. We are supporting ageing parents or partners or caring for young grandchildren, and may not have as much time for our own pursuits.

But finding a group where you do something you enjoy, whether it’s a book club or even a walking football team, could be a way to have fun and fight loneliness – a serious problem for many people – too.

Food for thought?

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Re people watching too much TV. For many people there is nothing mich else they can do- even if they would like to.
    Paying $300-$350 a week rent, plus food, medications,gas, electricity,excess water, phone etc and there is nothing left for anything else. There is likely to be a deficit that adult children make up – or the Senior tries to get a few odd paying jobs babysitting, gardening etc – if they are fit enough.

    Heaven help the Seniors who need home care help as well and can not afford to pay for it.

    Years ago rents were far cheaper, taking a smaller proportion of the Centrelink payment and the rent allowance was a much larger percentage of the cost.

    Local tech classes for hobbies, where people made new friends and gained new skills, were really affordable for Seniors- now most courses are in the hundreds of dollars. Well out of their budget.

    Free bus and train transport is all very well but a bit useless when you get anywhere if you can’t even afford a coffee.

    Utility bills have soared, new clothes, presents for others, and holidays are far in the past.

    For people who do not own their own home- (and not because they are useless, have been poor money managers etc- more because of divorce, death etc,) life is very bleak.

    At a push they may score an old computer from friends or relatives, and find the money,somehow, to get connected to the internet- perhaps their only contact with others nowadays.

    Compare what a politician receives for one night’s accommodation and what a Senior receives as a daily rate to meet all basic living expenses – and the whole situation is a disgrace.

    No one seems to realise that Seniors create millions of jobs in every country. it is in the best interests of the rest of the population to keep them well and alive as long as possible.

    No one seems to have calculated how many jobs will be lost world-wide for instance as the Baby Boomers, now in their 60s and 70s, pass away in the next 10-20 years.

    That’s a lot of rentals, cars, insurances, supermarket food, bank accounts etc that will simply disappear.

    There seems to be a multitude of Aged care /Seniors institutes, organisations and Ministers, yet very little changes. The whole situation is unacceptable and disgusting. Other countries treat their Seniors far better that Australia does.

    Given the high number of Seniors in Australia I am surprised they do not band together and become more politically motivated, using their vote to obtain better conditions.

    Perhaps too many of them are too tired and ill from all the stress of struggling to make ends meet each week.
    What a sad situation!

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