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Leisure in Daily Life: Older Widows Living Alone

Barbara C. Wilhite, Kathleen Sheldon, Nancy Jekubovich-Fenton


Many women can expect to live alone in old age either because of never marrying, divorce, or death of a spouse/partner. Designing and delivering leisure services based on how these women define and experience leisure may contribute significantly to their successful aging. Interviews and self-initiated tape recording were conducted with eight older widows living alone to understand their daily leisure experiences. Results indicated that leisure comprised a large part of their immediate experience, occurred primarily in everyday activities, and contained both utilitarian and aesthetic attributes. A need for leisure opportunities in addition to those offered through senior centers or other traditional congregate settings was supported. The current distribution of leisure services to older people should be changed or expanded if services are to be directed to women who are widowed.


Aging, Women, Widows, Leisure, Community Services, Leisure Policy, Qualitative Research

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