Hobby & New Experience

People in their 50s and 60s who live alone, hobby rather than exercise and entertainment to reduce depression

Single-person households are already the most common family type in Korea. According to Statistics Korea, 27.2 percent of all households in 2015, beating out two-person households (26.1 percent), three-member households (21.5 percent) and four-member households (18.8 percent). Single-person households are on the rise in the entire age bracket as well as those in their 20s and 30s who often live alone. Their poverty problem and the risk of social isolation are also rising. 

There are many single-person households in the middle-aged, divorced, and private sector, and the high level of depression is the most effective in reducing depression.

Walking or shopping has no effect on depression, so "content, regularity, companion are more important than leisure activities."

Divorce and separation are more depressing than bereavement, and men are also vulnerable to "increasing middle-aged women's leisure and strengthening social networks."

So, what features will a single-person household in their 50s and 60s show between young and old? There are usually many single-person households due to divorce, separation and non-marriage. In their 60s, they often became single-person households by identifying their spouses. One-person households in their 50s and 60s are considered vulnerable, with a higher level of depression and thoughts of suicide than other age groups due to stress or anxiety. 

How can we reduce the problem of people in their 50s and 60s who live alone? A study found that people who spend their leisure time doing their own hobbies consistently feel less depressed. A research team led by Kim Hye-jin, a researcher at Yonsei University's Institute for Social Welfare, published a report on interviewing 168 men and women aged 50-69 who lived alone in urban areas in 2015 in the academic journal of the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs on Wednesday.

According to the types of leisure activities, the research team has divided them into four groups: "everyday exercise alone" (at least once a week), "relational exercise and entertainment," "daily hobbies" (at least once a week), and "leisure activities" (little leisure activities).

In terms of their level of depression (between 0 and 15 points), "everyday alone exercise" was the highest with 6.67 points, while "day-to-day hobby type" was the lowest with 3.77. This means that people's feelings are most stable when they constantly engage in their desired hobbies such as reading, fishing and gardening. The other three groups, on the other hand, were all classified as "danger groups" prone to depression.

"For one-person households in their 50s and 60s, exercise such as walking and mountain climbing and entertainment activities such as shopping and eating out have little to do with lowering their depression," the research team said. It is more important to know what activities, how regularly and who they are with than whether they are engaged in leisure activities," he said. Also, there was a higher level of depression among those who lived alone after divorcing, separation and bereavement than those who were not married. Divorce and separation, in particular, had a greater impact than bereavement. Unlike previous studies that showed that women are generally more vulnerable to depression, the depression of male middle-aged people who live alone is also greater. On the other hand, he is in good subjective health and the more he meets his children, the less depressed he feels.

What alternatives will there be to reduce their difficulties? For one-person households in their 50s and 60s who are exposed to depression and suicide risks, it is suggested that they need to open specialized depression classes or actively operate stress management rooms. Also, cooking classes and hobby clubs for men should be activated based on community welfare centers, the team noted. It is also necessary to develop emotional support programs tailored to those who have been divorced or killed.

"Liberal activities for the middle-aged people living alone need to be diversified and social networks need to be strengthened," the research team said. "We need to further study the leisure activities of single middle-aged households in the rural area of Taman."



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