The Human Right to Leisure in Old Age: Reinforcement of the Rights of an Aging Population

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The right to leisure is recognized as a human right under the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The actual meaning and material content of this human right is subject to debate. The aim of this study is to examine the extent and the context to which this human right is specifically recognized with regard to older persons. Methodologically, this study textually analyzed 17 different international older persons’ human rights documents. The findings reveal that in the majority of these documents there is no reference to the right to leisure. In the remaining documents, the right to leisure is mostly referred to indirectly or in a narrow legal construction. These findings support the notion that despite the growing body of knowledge regarding the importance of meaningful leisure in old age—and its empowering and anti-ageist nature—this knowledge has not transformed into a legal human rights discourse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-295
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Aging and Social Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 27 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis.


  • Elder law
  • Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA)
  • human rights
  • jurisprudential gerontology
  • leisure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Gerontology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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