The effects of gender and impairment on social contact and leisure activities of community elders
Older Americans will comprise 22.9% of the population by the year 2050 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1989). The literature has focused attention on the informal networks and leisure activities of the older adult. Most older adults have an effective network of close relationships with family and friends.Schein (1985) suggests that impaired hearing reduces communication resulting in social withdrawal and diminished participation in leisure activities. Only recently has research addressed the impact of subjective memory impairment. The literature on self-reported memory complaints and objective measures of performance are mixed.The purpose of this study was to better understand the role self-reported hearing impairment and memory impairment have on the social contact and leisure activities of community adults. Results indicate that gender is a significant indicator of social contact. The hypothesis that individuals reporting memory difficulties would differ significantly in social contact and leisure activities from unimpaired individuals was supported. No significant multivariate effect appeared for hearing on social contact or leisure activities.