Projects per year
Engaging in social interaction and physical movement during everyday activities has a positive influence on wellbeing in later life. For older adults who age in place, the majority of activities occur indoors, yet studies typically focus on outdoors. Gender influences social and physical activities but is understudied in an ageing-in-place context. We aim to address these gaps by increasing insight into the indoor activities in later life, with a focus on gender differences in social interaction and physical movement. Through a mixed-methods approach, data were collected using global positioning system (GPS) trackers, pedometers and activity diaries. Twenty community-dwelling older adults (11 women and 9 men) who were living in Lancashire collected these data over seven days. An exploratory spatio-temporal analysis was conducted on the 820 activities they undertook. We discovered that our participants spend large amounts of time indoors. We also found that social interaction increases the duration of the activity and, conversely, decreases levels of physical movement. When zooming in to gender differences, men's activities took significantly longer than women's activities and were characterised by higher level of social interaction. Based on these results, we argue that there is a trade-off between social interaction and physical movement in everyday activities. We suggest establishing a balance between socialising and moving in everyday activities in later life, specifically because maintaining high levels of movement and social interaction at the same time seems unachievable. In conclusion, it is important to design indoor environments that facilitate choice between being active and resting, and between being social and being on one's own rather than assume they are mutually-exclusive and/or universally “good” or “bad” per se.