How well retirees plan their free time is more important than the amount of free time they have, according to new research.
In fact, retirees should be masters of their own destiny, and actively manage and plan their free time to ensure a happy and fulfilling retirement, according to researchers Wei-Ching Wang of the I-Shou University in Taiwan, who led the new study.
Wang and his research team studied the responses of 454 Taiwanese retirees to try to understand if there is a link between their management of free time and their overall quality of life.
The retirees were asked about the goals they set for their free time, their general attitude towards it, and how they schedule and manage it. The Quality of Life scale of the World Health Organization was also adapted and used for the study, according to the researchers.
Free time refers to those periods when people are under no obligation and can decide for themselves what to do, the researchers explain. Free time is usually spent in leisure pursuits in order to relax after experiencing stress or to improve one’s health, they add.
Previous studies have shown that leisure time is important for older people, according to researchers, who note it has a positive influence on their quality of life, happiness and sense of peace.
Other studies have also shown that a lack of planning can create problems, such as boredom and an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle, researchers add.
“Quality of life is not affected as much by the amount of free time that a retiree has, but on how effectively the person manages this time on hand,” said Wang.
“Therefore it is important to educate people on how to use their free time more effectively to improve quality of life.”
Wang recommends that governments, community centers and service organizations consider introducing guidance programs or leisure education to teach people the techniques that they need to schedule their free time better and to make the most of their retirement.
The study was published in Springer’s journal Applied Research in Quality of Life.