September. The kids and grandkids are back in school and most of us are back into a regular routine. But what is a regular routine for the average Canadian senior? And is there an ‘average’ Canadian senior? Statistics Canada is monitoring this growing demographic and they offer a wealth of information to help us get a fix on what ‘average’ looks like in today’s 65+ crowd.
The majority of Canadian seniors have retired from the workforce. No surprise there, but what is surprising is the growing number of seniors who don’t retire. In 2015, one in five seniors still worked and of those a third of them worked full-time. It’s hard to say if this is, on average by choice or necessity. Likely some are working because they’re just not ready to stop. Others perhaps work to fund a special goal or a project while still others are working because they need to pay the rent. Whatever the case, Stats Can says about 43% of them reported that they worked ‘for the income’.
Whether fully retired or still punching the clock, there’s always work to be done at home and according to Stats Can senior women still spend more time doing routine, unpaid household work than their male counterparts. That said, statistics also indicate that today’s senior men do more dishes, vacuuming, laundry and the like than ever before. To that, I say amen!
This next glimpse into how seniors spend their day actually surprised me. Seniors now spend less time on so-called ‘active pursuits’ than the average senior did just three decades ago. That’s less time walking, exercising, volunteering, attending cultural events or even socializing! The Stats Can 2015 General Social Study on Time Use actually quantified the decline in activity as 35 minutes less each day for senior men and 40 minutes less each day for senior women. Conversely, more time was spent on passive activities like watching tv, reading and using technology.
We’re talking about just over half an hour of more sitting and less doing by the average Canadian senior. Something to worry about? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I think it’s a senior stat worth being mindful of and if it is a trend, it might be a trend worth bucking. And why not start now! Perhaps instead of another half hour of Netflix tonight, why not get out for a walk on a gorgeous evening, in autumn, in Northumberland County. To me, that’s time very well spent.