Time use of the elderly: a practical application of time budgets in a South African setting


Time-budget methodology, which affords unique insights into daily life events, has had only limited application among elderly subpopulations and in developing countries to date. Efforts under way to fill this gap can draw on a practical guideline to time-use data collection based on over 30 years of research experience in the field. This article outlines major recommendations in the guideline of Harvey (1993h). it also reports a practical application of the time-use method among elderly residents of KwaMashu, a black township near Durban. The pilot study with 50 subjects conducted by the second author yielded insights into the weekday time use of members and non-members of senior service centres. The findings suggest that senior centres play an important positive role in the daily lives of members. Drawing on the practical research experience gained in the pilot study, recommendations are made to further improve the quality of time-use data collected in the local setting.


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