What Makes Older People Happy?

Posted on February 21, 2014

Photo: flickr

Every year, my husband and I wonder what kind of birthday gift to give his dad, now 86 years old. The newest gadget, which may be admired but almost surely will be put in a drawer? Something much more ordinary, like one of the cardigan sweaters he wears day in and day out?

We know very well what Mel would really enjoy: a weeklong visit with us and our children, with lots of time spent eating out in comfortable restaurants where he doesn't have to strain to follow the conversation.

When we’re young and believe we have a long future ahead, the authors found, we prefer extraordinary experiences outside the realm of our day-to-day routines. But when we’re older and believe that our time is limited, we put more value on ordinary experiences, the stuff of which our daily lives are made.

Why? For young people trying to figure out who they want to become, extraordinary experiences help establish personal identities and are therefore prized, said Amit Bhattacharjee, the lead author of the study and a visiting assistant professor of marketing at Dartmouth College. As people become more settled, ordinary experiences become central to a sense of self and therefore more valued.

Click on the link below to read the full article.


Category(s):Aging & Geriatric Issues, Happiness

Source material from New York Times


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