Motivations and needs of older people for work and active lifestyle


The article presents the results of a poll of older people on the example of a particular region (The Tomsk Region) to identify the need for an active lifestyle and penchant for productive work. The system of hypotheses under article issues is tested. The aim of the work is to analyze problems of older people which affect their labor activity. The empirical base for the study was the results of the survey (sample frame 400 pers.). The respondents were older people living in urban and rural areas of the Tomsk Region. To test the generated hypotheses statistical methods (analysis of variance, correlation analysis, etc.) are used. There are three main problems the elderly related to their needs and inclinations to work. It was determined that the formation of a stable demand of older people in productive work and active lifestyle will help to solve a number of problems of socio-psychological and economic nature at the present stage of social development in Russia and abroad.

Keywords: Demographic shiftolder peoplewell-being conceptquality of life


Studies of older people in many countries have shown that well-being is good health, sense of happiness, satisfaction with life, love of life, peace of mind, comfort, confidence, security, feeling of well-being, the ability to communicate with people, a sufficient amount of material benefits.

In Russia, people of retirement age are called "people of survival period", focusing attention on the difficulties of this period of human life when there are significant social, biological and psychological changes. The elderly do not always have the necessary incentives for an active lifestyle. Actually, personality development even at this stage is not completed, it continues. The more a person is focused on the future, the more he remains active, thinking in terms of prospects. Therefore, the study of factors affecting the propensity, the need for work and active life of older people in modern society is a promising and popular area of research (Hoban et al., 2013).

Elderly people are a special age group with common needs, values, interests and social features. At the same time, their needs and inclinations are individual enough (Kaneda et al., 2011). Older people are a heterogeneous demographic group. Since 1980, the United Nations recommends to consider 60 as the boundary of old age. According to the classifier of the World Health Organization (WHO), there are three groups:

• elderly people (60 - 74)

• old people (75 - 90)

• long-living people (90 and older).

American scholar E.H. Erickson, the author of crisis theory of psychosocial group identity formation by stages, identified eight stages of human development. Each stage has its own problems. He divided the eighth stage into four subgroups:

1. Early retirement or late middle age - 50-60.

2. Average retirement or early retirement age period - 60-70.

3. Late age or mature retirement age - 70-90.

4. Longevity or late retirement age - 90 and older. (Elkind, 1970)

An original classification of older people depending on the psychological aging process which does not depend on the age parameters is suggested by V.V. Boltenko.

According to V.V. Boltenko, the following groups are identified:

There are differences in the lifestyles of people recently retired, people who have considerable experience of retirement, and long living people.

The portrait of the average elderly person in modern Russia is considered by the example of Tomsk Region, on the basis of the sociological study conducted in 2015 (Anikina et al., 2015).

The survey represented all age groups, distributed in percentage terms in the following quantitative terms: the age structure of respondents: 55-59 years old - 22%; 60-64 years old - 28%; 65-69 years old - 20%; 70-74 years old - 10%; 75 years old or older - 20%. 64% of respondents were women, and 36% - men. 30% of respondents at the time of the survey were living in rural areas and 70% - in the city.

In accordance to the level of education, respondents were represented by the following groups: lower secondary education - 9%; secondary schools - 21%; technical schools - 40%; incomplete higher education - 1%; higher education - 28%; awarded the academic degree - 1%.

The majority of respondents were office workers (60%) and workers (31%) in various companies and in different spheres of production.

The average family income per person per month is less than 6 thousand rubles - 35% of the respondents; from 6 to 12 thousand rubles - 36% of the respondents; from 13 to 18 thousand rubles - 36% of the respondents; from 19 to 25 thousand rubles - 14% and 5% of respondents' income is more than 26 thousand rubles. The main sources of income are: pension ― for 95% of respondents and fee ― for 5% of respondents. 50% of respondents are not alone and married.

The main part of the economically active respondents works full-time on a permanent basis. The main motive for work is a monetary reward, which allows one to expand opportunities to meet their active rather than immediate needs.

Formation and priority of active needs of older people depend both on the individual characteristics and the situation that determines their well-being.

In Tomsk Region, as well as in Russia as a whole, there is an increase in the demographic load of people of the retirement age on the working population (fig. 1).

Figure 1: Demographic load of people of retirement age (per 1,000 people of working age) in Tomsk region, 2005-2012. (Source: The older generation, 2013).
Demographic load of people of retirement age (per 1,000 people of working age) in Tomsk region, 2005-2012. (Source: The older generation, 2013).
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In order to maintain the previous level of consumption, many retirees continue to work. In Tomsk Region, about 40% of pensioners continue to work according to the poll conducted in 2015.

According to the survey, respondents identify the following main sources of income in a descending order: pensions, wages and social benefits. Retirees can receive additional income in the form of savings (deposits in the bank), property rent, and additional pension from private pension funds (Taran et al., 2016).

There are many solutions to the problems of older people, one of which is the formation of active elderly labor requirements of different character, depending on the individual properties and characteristics. These needs can be met through the involvement of older people in active economic activities for the benefit of society, or the implementation of an active position by maintaining domestic (subsidiary) economy (Anikina et al., 2015).

The study of the problems of older people which affect labor activity

Exploring the inclinations and needs of older generation for productive work, the following hypothesis was made: There are three main problems of older people related to their needs and inclinations to work and housework (subsidiary) economy.

These problems include the following:

1. The problem of health preservation which is estimated as the core value and creates the motivation for its maintenance and preservation. Labor allows the seniors to receive occupational therapy as an active method of recovery and compensation of disturbed functions; to restore the damaged body parts, organs or systems through the respectively selected types of work (e.g. outdoor); to increase overall vitality and to create the psychological conditions for rehabilitation (Ranking of countries in terms of life expectancy, 2016).

2. Low pension. The ratio of indicators: income / expenses are determined. Financial security is a major incentive to be engaged in professional activities and to carry out homework, as low income does not allow using external domestic services.

3. The problem of loneliness due to the destruction of the business relations and the death of relatives causes the lack of adaptation of the elderly in society.

The results of the sociological survey of older people in Tomsk and Tomsk Region in 2015 showed low demand for labor activity. The majority of retirees (56%) do not have a need to work, but take an active socio-economic position in general.

34% of seniors in the region work, 66% - do not work. 73.5% of the respondents work full time; 20.6% of the respondents work part time. The main motive for employment is monetary compensation which allows people of old age to expand capacity to meet their active needs, rather than immediate needs.

According to the survey, three main problems of older people, related to their needs and inclinations to work, are highlighted:

1. Preservation of health, which is estimated as the core value and creates the motivation for its maintenance and preservation.

2. Financial security - due to the low size of pensions.

3. The problem of social demand which arises in connection with the destruction of business relationships and points to the need to be useful and helpful to others.

As the opinion poll indicated (fig.2), the main priority needs of the elderly are family welfare (87%), health (85%) and wealth (50.5%).

Figure 2: Main priority needs of older people (according to the poll).
Main priority needs of older people (according to the poll).
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Causes of low socio-economic activity of the older generation are related to the influence of two main groups of factors: the objective life conditions of older people which they are not able to influence, and subjective preferences that influence the behavior of older people in the community.

The need for people of the older generation in the activities within the household economy is sustainable. 56% of respondents have a garden, 44% of respondents do not have it, (32%) would like to buy it. The main motive for having it for 51% of respondents is to provide families with food; 17% of respondents are engaged in this activity traditionally, for 15% of respondents the motive is to occupy their spare time. The main assistants of pensioners in this activity are children and grandchildren.

Analyzing consumption as a component of economic activity on the basis of sociological research data in Tomsk Region, it can be argued that experiencing financial difficulties, retirees (about 43% of respondents buy food only) reduce the consumption in comparison with the period of labor activity.

A high proportion of respondents are forced to save on various goods and services. Savings can occur by reducing claims, using products grown in private farms and products of lower quality. An income reduction may reduce food energy that leads to reduction of physical activity. The transition to a low-calorie food can occur due to health problems. The diversification of consumption may be caused by habits and mistrust to new foo. The savings on the purchase of new clothes and shoes for elderly are easily feasible in practice, since there are available stocks. There is no need to follow the fashion and there is no reason for the conspicuous consumption, especially for rural residents (Kashchuk, & Ivankina, 2015).

Savings as a component of the economic activity of pensioners in Russia are at a low level. There is the problem of low financial literacy, lack of confidence in financial institutions, relatively low income that does not allow saving. Only 22% of people over 60 years old are willing to spend the revenue on current needs without storing up. However, the part of pensioners ' income that is not spent in the current period, is not converted into assets. They cannot be invested in real estate or spent on other large purchases.

Thus, in terms of the economic activity of older people, it is at the European average employment level (excluding shadow employment and self-employment), but is, at the same time, rather forced and dictated by low income of the age group. Consumption and savings activity of Russian pensioners are limited because of scare resources and mistrust of financial institutions. Surveys show that the importance of private households in the formation of the revenue is traditionally exaggerated, but it is often an integral component of activity and lifestyle.

AAI methodology (activity index aging) (Zaidi et al., 2012) and data from the survey of older generation in Tomsk Region reveal the role of the employment domain (as the foundation of economic activity) and the role of the participation in society domain (as the composite index of social activity) at the overall level of security of the older people activity. The contribution of socio-economic activity in the process of successful active aging in Russia is only 25%. The remaining three quarters of active aging and independent living are provided by the environment and creating opportunities for older people to have access to the infrastructure, services and physical activity.

On the basis of sociological research of problems of older people, it can be claimed that they acquire the status of important economic agents whose interests, preferences and decisions determine their own lives and prospects of economic development in general.


Further study of the specific nature in society of older people needs will form the modern concept of solving a number of problems of socio-psychological and economic nature at the present stage of development of society in Russia and abroad.


This work was performed by the authors in collaboration with Tomsk Polytechnic University within the project in evaluation and enhancement of social, economic and emotional wellbeing of older adults under Agreement No.14.Z50.31.0029.


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Kashchuk, I., & Ivankina, L. (2017). Motivations and needs of older people for work and active lifestyle. In K. Anna Yurevna, A. Igor Borisovich, W. Martin de Jong, & M. Nikita Vladimirovich (Eds.), Responsible Research and Innovation, vol 26. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 363-369). Future Academy.