Over the past half century aging in the United States has been transformed, given improvements in life expectancy, educational attainment, and population health coupled with the unraveling of conventional retirement exits and protections. Yet we know very little about how the day-to-day experiences of older men and women have changed—or remained stable—during this period. Using time diary data from the American Heritage Time Use Study from 1965–2012, we examine trends in older Americans’ time use in the United States in tandem with major shifts in later adult demography, workforce/retirement timing, and risk. We focus specifically on older (ages 50-79) women’s and men’s participation in paid work, leisure, exercise, eating, unpaid work, and sleep, theorizing within-gender historical changes as well as growing cross-gender convergence over time. We use decomposition analyses to consider whether patterns we observe are the result of changes in behavior or changing population composition.
Presented in Session 13. Resiliency and Successful Aging