Objective. A qualitative research design using grounded theory procedures and techniques was used to explore how routine changed in later adulthood for seven Caucasian, college-educated, middle-class women who were not employed and who were free of major functional impairments.
Method. In-depth interviews, observations, an autobiography, and researcher-generated memos provided data. Data analysis involved concept formation, concept development, and conceptual modification and integration. Data collection and analysis were concurrent, iterative, reflective, and reflexive.
Results. Although the participants used routines to facilitate their well-being, they reported doing so to a lesser extent than when they had children living at home or when they worked. These participants unpackaged routines and molded them into increasingly flexible time-use strategies in response to age-related changes in their ecocultural niche, philosophy of life, and physical status.
Conclusion. That the participants sought less obligation and more freedom as they aged may influence the way they respond to a health care practitioner's advocating for an increase in routine. Interventions with older women must be compatible with existing routines and family themes and directly linked to well-being.