What Really Makes The Elderly Happy?
“Once basic needs are taken care of, the allocation of discretionary income towards acquiring life experiences rather than material possessions is preferred”
The challenge of choosing gifts for elder relatives leaves you with a mixed feeling of uncertainty and wonderment at what really makes an elder person happy. The Journal of Consumer Research, reports that purchases made with the primary intention of acquiring a life experience (experiential) rather than the acquisition of material wealth is what makes elders happy. Over a person’s lifespan, the kinds of experiences that make people happy tend to change.
Acquiring Life Experiences
So what is it that makes an elder happy? Is it a material gift, an experience, a familiar every day experience, but with you at their side? From a Gerontological perspective, mortality takes priority with age with elders looking to fulfil emotionally meaningful goals and activities. Surveys conducted by Boven and Gilovich indicate this may be due to the tact that experiences are open to positive reinterpretations. Once basic needs are met with (Maslow’s theory), the allocation of discretionary income towards acquiring lite experiences rather than material possessions is preferred. This is what has been observed in studies.
Experiences That Boost The Mood
Theories based on how age influences happiness have been put forward by lsaacowitz of Northeastern University. In their search for rewarding relationships and experiences across their lifespan, elders tend to seek circumstances or experiences that will boost their mood and tend to cut ties with those who dampen their spirits and bring down their aspirations. Others choose to overcome the disappointment over unachieved goals by concentrating on achieving a better well-being. using selective memory to remember situations or persons they associate with happier memories.
Some psychologists attribute the happiness in later years to a steady decline In cognition, which they think leads the elders to focus on simple and happy thoughts A Stanford study says that getting old leads to emotional stability and happiness (Perspectives on Psychological Science). With the realization that time for living is limited. elders value ordinary experiences and gravitate towards making these central to a sense of self and savouring what they already have and strive to make the most of it. (Peter Caprariello-Stony Brook University).
“when people settle, they tend to make ordinary experiences more central to their sense of sell.” Research also reveals that happiness and depression in later years is defined in terms of the past life satisfaction which one draws up in their old age. The experiments conveyed that happiness attained through extraordinary experiences remained constant, whereas pleasure derived through ordinary experiences increased as one got older. This is why reminiscence therapy and structured life review sessions, spread wellness in the elderly population and are hence popular in care-giving sessions.
Another solid source of happiness for the elderly is having conversations and sharing stories with an attentive audience. Is it surprising then, to see happy grandchildren and grandparents in awe of each other getting along famously?!
No Importance To Chronological Age
Time and again we come back to why pleasant experiences, rather than monetary gain or material possessions give elders more happiness. The passage of time plays a critical role in promoting motivation in humans. As the years roll by, the chronological age loses significance and the remaining time becomes a fairly accurate predictor for a range of motivational, emotional and cognitive variables. The socio-emotional selectivity theory states, restraints on time horizons swing motivational primacies in such a manner, that the regulation of emotional states takes priority over other types of goals.’
Company Of Their Loved Ones
You need to understand that the things you enjoy may not excite our older parents or relatives or give them happiness. Thinking that your elders are bored of their mundane routine and getting them to try something new, just does not work. They would much rather do the things they do in their own familiar routine way, with the only difference being – their loved ones at their side! That is the essence of happiness! Grandchildren, happy experiences, warm friendships and candid smiles are all they ask for!
Ways To Make The Elderly Happy
- Never make them feel lonely
- Get them engaged with family
- Plan surprise parties with their peers
- Give them loads and loads of love and affection
- Show them you are there for them
- Ensure that you are spending quality time with them
- Make room for fun and laughter in their lives
- Listen to their stories attentively
- Keep them company always