Only Child looks (again) at seniors and happiness

Only Child in one of her happiness situations - the garden in summer

Only Child in one of her happiness situations – the garden in summer

Are today’s older adults happy? If so, what makes them happy, or not? The more I googled for information, the more widespread information I found. The one I heard on the radio earlier today (and it doesn’t seem to be online) is the one I’m going to talk about.

According to this one, older adults’ happiness is based on four areas – each one “worth” 25 per cent.  After considering the genetic factor for pre-disposition for happiness or unhappiness, the areas are: environment, debt-free, relationship, passionate about something.

According to that survey, I’m about 50 per cent happy in winter and 60 to 75 per cent from spring to fall. Here’s my breakdown (pun intended):

  1. Environment: This is the variable one. It’s practically 0 in winter because I hate winter – the snow, ice, cold, even the rain, but mostly because I can’t get outside and garden or attend outdoor events without freezing. In the summer it goes to 20 to 25 percent because of the outdoor/gardening factors. The fluctuating 5 per cent is if there are house repairs and the like.
  2. Debt- free: Not me. I live the proverbial “hand-to-mouth” no matter what I do. So far I’ve managed to pay regular bills – including credit cards as payment comes due (except for the line of credit one – it gets the minimum payment and a bit more when I can afford it), even some house repairs (for the biggies I’ve had some help from my ex-husband) and for some unexpected bills. I’ve told my son that my estate will have to pay off my line of credit debt after I’m gone,  but that’s what small life insurance payouts are for. Unless I win the lottery or my book(s) reach best-seller status or no. 3 below happens, that’s the way it is. So this category rates 0 per cent on this happiness scale.
  3. Relationship – also 0 per cent for obvious reasons. After a few years of online dating, in-person singles events, and yes, even the see who is available at groups sharing your interests, I’ve come up with less than slim pickings. This doesn’t mean I’m not interested; I’ve just given up wasting my time looking.
  4. Passionate about something in my life – definitely a full 25 per cent – with my writing, teaching writing, gardening, reading, and a few others, even watching favourite TV programs. I can get transformed out of my misery (albeit temporarily, especially if a telemarketer phones) when doing any of those things.

So there you have it. But the survey/study organizers forgot one big factor here, especially for us older folks – good health. Sure, some of that is genetic and maybe some could come under “environment.” But I think health should be a factor on its own, changing the happiness factors to 20 per cent each.

Comments anyone? What makes you happy or unhappy?


Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes


Filed under Debt, Gardening, Gardening health benefits, Happiness, Health, Health Seniors, Hereditary, Money, Only child, Passion, Seniors, Seniors and Happiness, Sharon A. Crawford, Zoomers

4 responses to “Only Child looks (again) at seniors and happiness

  1. Cracking up at “here’s my breakdown (pun intended)!

    [pssst, you should add Twitter and Google+ buttons in your “Share This” section]…

  2. Thanks Laurie. Humour does get you a little easier through life as long as it isn’t insulting others.
    Yeah, probably should get Google + etc buttons, especially as I have a Google account. Have to get my techie son to do this when he’s available as he set up the other “Share This” stuff and fixed/changed the layout of this blog thanks to the header graphic disappearing.


    Hi Sharon – I want to support your idea of including health in the mix of things that make for happiness for seniors. Having spent 7 weeks hospitalized and 8 weeks in a private “guest” home I can testify to the need to at least have hope that most days we will have the courage to deal with what the genes and the environment have schemed to make our “golden” years a challenge. Re the other components – I have twelve kids, grandkids and great grandkids whom I am enjoying very much (good thing since I live with several of them).My passions right now include learning how to quilt and doing something about elderabuse in unregistered “guest” homes . The only thing I am missing is my cat, Duke, whom I haven’t had jump on my knee for over a year.

    • Hi Mary:
      Glad you are back home. Thanks for your comments. I’m surprised that survey didn’t include health. As for family and friends – yes, I have lots of those – a son and his partner/girlfriend and many, many cousins, particularly on my late mother’s side of the family. When my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point had its launch last November, eight cousins came in from outside Toronto for it and Martin and Alison also came. The 11 of us went out to dinner afterwards. What also touched me is some of my editing clients who showed up, especially the 90-year-old fellow and his 70-something wife who came all the way down from Penatanguishene, Ontario (by taxi and bus).
      Talk to you soon by email.


      Sharon A.

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