Call us now on

0800 201 4811

Do The Things That Make Us Happy Change Over Time?

Mark Gale

Mark Gale

Author

Lifestyle

What is happiness?

Nearly 80 years later, we published The Colour Report, a look at what retirement really looks like in the present day – and for the most part, the average person's ideas about happiness haven't changed much.  The biggest change, perhaps, is how the +55s see themselves compared to the previous generation. Indeed, our survey respondents believe they have more choices than their parents did, and are ‘more special’ (59%), making the most of what life has to offer.

Man stretching outside

Staying Fit & Active © matthewennisphotography

 

More than seven decades ago, participants in the Bolton study defined happiness as ‘engaging in my hobbies, spending time that is free of worry’ – and today's retirees are not vastly different. They’re intent on living the same rewarding, active lifestyles that they always have. More than eight out of ten (83%) people responding to our survey said that they spend at least the same amount of time exercising as they did before retirement. And it's not an attitude that diminishes over time, either – 28% of those over 75 are members of a gym or sports club, showing you are only as old as you feel. But it's not just sports and exercise that are making today’s retirees happy.  They're just as active in their adventures as they are in their pursuits of good health.  And it is here that we really see a change in attitudes. Home & Away While the majority of respondents to the 1938 Bolton survey were happiest in their hometown, around 60% of today’s retirees have visited new countries and almost half (45%) are planning to travel in the next 12 months. Perhaps ‘security’ – the top happiness factor in 1938 – has come to mean something different for us in the 21st century.

 

As mentioned in the introduction, The Colour Report respondents believe they are more radical than previous generations. They are largely better travelled, and have wider experiences than their parents, so security is no longer defined by the limits of ‘home’, but by what one is able to do. On the flip-side, community still means a lot to us in 2015. The Colour Report shows that more than one in five (21%) retirees have started new volunteering activities, which suggests that contributing to society is still seen as an important happiness factor.  Perhaps our ability to travel more widely simply means that we see ourselves as part of a broader society than our parents did. Looking Good Back in 1938, ‘more beauty’ was on the list of ten factors that affect our happiness, and our study shows that a healthy bit of vanity isn't something that's lost as we grow older.  Roughly a third of those polled in The Colour Report follow the latest fashions, and almost three-quarters say their own appearance is of great importance. Of course, this more radical generation of retirees acknowledges that they have more spending power than their parents did. A fact that means they can actually satisfy their desire to look good and dress well after they stop working. In fact, almost half of retirees are spending at least as much money on clothes as they did when they were younger, with only 5% of participants saying they buy clothes targeted at older people.

 

Love & Support Almost 80 years ago, respondents wrote about ‘congenial and satisfying companionship’ and coming home from the pit to see ‘my kiddies and wife’ as the things that really made them happy.  It’s here that the links between today’s retirees and the Bolton respondents become strongest. It seems that support from those we’ve known longest increases in value as we age, with 68% of respondents to our survey wanting to live close to family. The ‘satisfying companionship’ that made people happy in 1938 is still an important factor for retirees today, with the vast majority of people saying that a laugh with friends keeps them young. And that’s not to say that new relationships can’t be fulfilling. While some people might believe that it gets harder to find companionship as you grow older, the fact is that plenty of retirees today are feeling the thrill of starting new relationships.  Almost one in five (19%) respondents to our survey are members of an online dating site, with almost one third finding someone special. When it comes to happiness, age really is just a number.  If you'd like to know more about what makes today's retirees tick, you can take a look at our Colour Report here.

 

Happy Couple in love

Related Articles

Lifestyle

Let’s Dance 

It’s sociable and fun, and it’s good for your health and your brain – time to put on your dancing shoes  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Thought Behind Your Home

Prospective homeowners will be delighted to know all aspects of their new living space – including the communal areas – have been considered during the design process, helping to make their lives more comfortable and a little easier  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Making your memories last forever

It’s never been easier to keep your most precious memories alive. From personalised photo albums and keepsakes to specially commissioned biographies and films, there are many ways to create a very special legacy – and have a lot of fun while you’re doing it. Here are a few ideas to inspire you  ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Best Golf Courses in the UK

Now is a great opportunity to get out on the fairway and get practising. We've looked into some of the best golf courses in the UK, including golf courses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to get you ready and eager to tee off this spring and summer. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Small is Beautiful - Balcony Gardening

Creating a beautiful outdoor space on a balcony can bring a lot of pleasure to you and your visitors for minimum effort. Balcony gardening offers the joy of plants but without the work that usually goes with a garden – you shouldn’t have to do much weeding for a start, you won’t get slugs, and there’s no lawn to worry about! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Advice For Low Maintenance Gardening

Let’s be honest, we’d all love a gorgeous garden that would blossom with just the wave of a weed-wand. But I can’t be the only one who finds that a few minutes pottering turns into hours of pruning, trimming and raking at times.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Great British Outdoor Experiences the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Finding an activity that the whole family can enjoy together can sometimes feel like a tall order, especially amongst the hectic schedules of our day to day lives. However, spending time together in the great outdoors is the perfect way to leave behind those digital distractions and create some precious family memories that will last a lifetime. ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Retirement Stories

You may wonder just how you will spend your retirement or worry that you will not find enough activities to fill your time. This can be far from the truth, these active retirees share their inspirational retirement stories  ...Read more

Lifestyle

How Do You Want To Live Your Life?

Enjoying a fulfilling retirement isn’t just about where you live. How you live plays an equally important role when it comes to getting the most out of what ought to be an extremely rewarding time of life.  ...Read more

Lifestyle

Dating for over 50s: how to find love in later life

Love in later life can seem daunting. If you’ve been married for some years and are recently divorced or widowed, looking for love is a whole lot different today than it was back when you were young. But that’s no reason to be put off – you’re never too old to fall in love! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the Scenes

There’s a vast team working all year round at McCarthy & Stone to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here we talk to three of them… ...Read more

Lifestyle

How we help every step of the way

McCarthy & Stone knows that communication is key when it comes to making a decision as big as moving into a retirement development, which is why it has staff ready to talk through the process, says Rachel Halliwell ...Read more

Lifestyle

Return of the Spider Plant

Remember when trailing greenery hung from macramé pot holders in every bay window in the country? Well, the good news is house plants are back in vogue. Here’s how to make the most of them ...Read more

Lifestyle

Inspirational Generation

Are you member of the Inspirational Generation? We want to hear your stories. Enter our competition and tell us why - you could be in with the chance of winning £2,000! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Starting a new chapter in your life

Many people feel apprehensive about selling their family home, says Rachel Halliwell. Yet McCarthy & Stone managers see the worry and weight being lifted from the shoulders of homeowners once they move in. It’s like being on a permanent luxury holiday, said one ...Read more

Lifestyle

What we don't miss about being younger

The study by leading retirement housebuilder, McCarthy and Stone, reveals sitting exams, enduring the daily commute and the stress of running a family, are among some of the things the older generation DO NOT miss about being younger. ...Read more

Lifestyle

The Teams Behind the Scenes

McCarthy & Stone has a vast team working round the clock to make sure that every homeowner in every development receives the best of the best. Here, we talk to three of the key players...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Behind the scenes: Interior design

A lot of work and careful planning goes into creating the beautiful interiors of a McCarthy & Stone development. Interior designer Hannah Gernon explains how she arrives at the finished results ...Read more

Lifestyle

Childhood memories at Waverley House

Mary Kent lived at the first McCarthy & Stone Development to be built, Waverley House in New Milton. Here, her granddaughter Tania Harland shares wonderful childhood memories of spending time there, which inspired her to work for McCarthy & Stone when a job opportunity came up 10 years ago. ...Read more

Lifestyle

5 gardening tools for the elderly

Whether you've been a gardening enthusiast for years or only recently discovered the joys of green fingers, getting your hands dirty in the garden can become more difficult in later life. We look at tools that can make this hobby easier. ...Read more

Lifestyle

GrandFest

Come to GrandFest and join us throughout June and July for a celebration of heritage skills in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. ...Read more

Lifestyle

A Date To Remember: 1977

It was a year of social unrest, high inflation, patriotism and punk rock. It was also the year that John McCarthy and Bill Stone built their first retirement apartments. As McCarthy & Stone celebrates its 40th anniversary, we take a look back at the highs and lows of 1977. ...Read more

Lifestyle

40 Years On...

Celebrate 40 years of retirement living solutions with McCarthy & Stone. Discover how we are commemorating this special event here! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding Love In Later Life

They'd both lost their partners 9 years ago and moved to a McCarthy & Stone development, but little did Ann and Robin know they were about to start something very special...

...Read more

Lifestyle

Frontline Extra

We are excited about the next few months! Mother’s Day, the feel good movie of the year could well be perfect for your mom this Mother's Day! ...Read more

Lifestyle

Finding love

Meeting someone new in later life, for companionship and love, can seem impossible, but these couples show that it can happen! ...Read more