Happiness and aging in the US: A study by the Brookings Institution

Posted by Scott, Volunteer Mentor @IndianaScott, Dec 8, 2020

I found this study interesting on happiness and aging in the US. Completed by the well-respected Brookings Institution, others here might find it of interest, especially as they discuss the differences they see in the USA versus other developed countries.
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/12/07/happiness-and-aging-in-the-us-why-it-is-different-from-other-places-and-why-it-matters/
Strength, Courage, and Peace to all

@IndianaScott An interesting read, to be sure. In my mind, I had to consider that what one person or demographic group finds as happiness and well-being, may not necessarily be the same for another group. How can you then compare? In this complicated world, there are so many factors to consider. Health, fiscal comfort, living situation, living environment [city, town, rural]. Some people are where they are physically/ emotionally/financially but not by choice. I suppose this study coupled with other groups of facts, would be eye-opening.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@IndianaScott An interesting read, to be sure. In my mind, I had to consider that what one person or demographic group finds as happiness and well-being, may not necessarily be the same for another group. How can you then compare? In this complicated world, there are so many factors to consider. Health, fiscal comfort, living situation, living environment [city, town, rural]. Some people are where they are physically/ emotionally/financially but not by choice. I suppose this study coupled with other groups of facts, would be eye-opening.
Ginger

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Ginger, all I can say is you are one smart lady. Many factors go into studies.

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@IndianaScott very interesting article!

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I use to be so active, I could do it all, and now I just want to die

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Good evening @nannette1941, I see that this a your first post, I am concerned about you and would like you to tell me where you are and how I can help?
How can we make you feel better? Are you at home? Do you have someone with you?

I am here for you and waiting for your response.
Chris

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@artscaping

Good evening @nannette1941, I see that this a your first post, I am concerned about you and would like you to tell me where you are and how I can help?
How can we make you feel better? Are you at home? Do you have someone with you?

I am here for you and waiting for your response.
Chris

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I just feel useless. I have to beg people to come and eat at my house, I am a good cook… so they do not want to come but I am not invited. Where I come from, on Christmas day/eve an extra plate is put on the table for the unknown guest… but no one comes and I am tired of so much loneliness. They say reach out… well I do but nothing happens. Since I am retired it is just so lonely

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I am going to go to bed. Good night.

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@nannette1941

I just feel useless. I have to beg people to come and eat at my house, I am a good cook… so they do not want to come but I am not invited. Where I come from, on Christmas day/eve an extra plate is put on the table for the unknown guest… but no one comes and I am tired of so much loneliness. They say reach out… well I do but nothing happens. Since I am retired it is just so lonely

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Hi, @nannette1941! I'm Elizabeth, ess77, in Jacksonville, Fl where it's really, really icey cold! In the low 30's last night, up in 40's today….wow! And, going down in 20's tonight. I love my plants in my yard and on the deck, BUT can't bring pots in anymore and can't cover most of the time, either. It really hurts me……but, we had a chat a couple years ago when I got physically worse and really sad, so I explained to my ginger plant, staghorn fern, lilies, thorn of crowns, pitcher plant hanging basket, plumbego, hydrangias, hybiscus and on and on….we chatted. I explained my situation and how things had changed. Explained it's up to them now to take care of themselves when I can't do it. They were so sweet…..I raised them all from tiny babies, several were being thrown away at Lowe's or Ace Hardware or the nursery…so I grabbed them for $1-2 and saved them from the garbage! the first couple years I did lose a few to the long, extended freeze overnight. But, we don't have many of those, so most of them did fine. I'm able now, with housekeeper help, to water them regularly, talk with them and make them feel loved. They are my friends! So, they've gotten tougher, stronger and can survive the cold winter nights we have in north Fla once in a while. You know, I think we have a good system now. They know I'm much older, weaker and need help, that I'm alone and need their love, so they do their best to survive w/little help from me. I've had to make kind of the same changes in my own life……I'm alone almost all day every day. It's tough. I do have a 53 year old son, disabled for 20 years who now lives across the street from me. He moved here for me to help…..now, he's a bit better and can help me some. Friends I almost never see anymore. I miss them and the times we shared. We don't have meals together anymore. My son and I don't either. He was at his home all day yesterday and today. I was here alone. But, we did chat on the phone. Today, I needed a med. refill, couldn't go out and he did go get it for me. That was wonderful! Rare! I guess all this is to say I'm one of the folks on this coversation site who does really understand how you feel. I bet most of these great folks have had the same feelings……Being alone can be so tough. But, I've gotten so I contact my friends or contacts or acquaintances or whomever by email, mostly, some by text or phone. Usually email is best for me, so I can chat and really let them know I'm thinking of them. No, I don't get many emails back to catch up. Some, but everyone returns with a sentence or fill them in on what I'm thinking. I don't know where you live…..we have to make ourselves go out! I have a hard time with that. I think if I didn't have doc appts at Mayo Clinic I might never go out of the house. But, I do and they're really working with me to get me much better. AND, nannette, I have a doc I spend time talking with every couple months. He's saving my emotional life, maybe my life for real. Not until I began these chats with him, at Mayo, did I really begin to get better. I had someone who was truly interested in my best, in helping me get to the emotional health to live and make it through getting older. Please consider getting in touch with someone like this. A pastor, maybe, a doctor is perfect for me. Maybe the local Council on Aging has some ideas….You know, Chris Trout, 'artscaping', seems to know a lot about how & where to find the things we need to get us through these tough times. So does Colleen Young. And Erika. They're volunteer mentors and whatever and have good info. Artscaping can get you in touch with the good folks who can help you out. Good for you for speaking up! That's a big step to getting to the right people. I'm here, on this crazy computer or my phone or watching tv or whatever………reach out to me anytime. You know, that would really help me out. I need the friendship!!!! I'm thinking about you and will keep you in my prayers! Blessings, my new friend. Elizabeth

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@nannette1941

I just feel useless. I have to beg people to come and eat at my house, I am a good cook… so they do not want to come but I am not invited. Where I come from, on Christmas day/eve an extra plate is put on the table for the unknown guest… but no one comes and I am tired of so much loneliness. They say reach out… well I do but nothing happens. Since I am retired it is just so lonely

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HI there @nannette1941, so it is time for bed. I hope you sleep well. Here is something to chew on……….can you remember feeling good about yourself? What was the occasion?

I see that 1941 at the end of your Connect name and so is it possible you were born in 1941? I was born in 1942. So we share many of the same worries and wonderments about our lives and how things have changed. I sent out about 75 digital Holliday letters and have received 6 replies. I moved from my village of 4,000 on the mountain after 20 years because of the fires. Now I live in a town of 65,000 and yet I feel alone…..like no one knows me.

Do you play games like Bridge or Mahjongg? Of course, this COVID has kept even the most avid Bridge player at home. Do you have family here and do they Zoom? My daughter and granddaughters have a Bed Party with me every other Sunday evening. I think I spend more time with them now because of Zoom. And we are all together. My daughter joins us for morning YOGA on Saturdays and Sundays. That is another connection I never had before.

What other activities do you enjoy? Are you creative? Have you made anything you would like to share? We have several groups of discussion open to anyone. Check out "Just Want to Talk" or "The Chat Room".

One more question…..how are you feeling physically? How is your health in general?

I hope to hear from you in the morning. And while I sense that you are despondent and lonely, I hope you have not had thoughts about self-harm. You know that there will always be someone to help when you call the National Suicide Help Line 800 293-8255.

May you be content and at peace.
Chris

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@nannette1941

I use to be so active, I could do it all, and now I just want to die

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@nannette1941– Welcome to Mayo Clinic. It's very nice to meet you. I can hear a lot of pain in what you say. Feeling lonely is actually a very lonely feeling. I've felt it many times. I felt as if nobody understood me or what I needed and wanted. I felt like nobody liked me. I'm terrible, I must be. I was pushing people away because I was honestly just a miserable person to be with. I can look back at it now and see this. I complained all the time and dragged people down. I finally entered counseling and finally saw that it wasn't that people didn't want to be with me but that I was asking them to be and do for me what I wasn't doing for myself. And that "doing" was taking actions to change my behaviors. I was burdening people, expecting them to fix me.

You say that you used to be so active. What did you use to do? What is stopping you now from doing "everything?"

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@nannette1941 My heart truly goes out to you. With the whole world being sectioned off and quarantined, you are not the only person who feels this way with having bouts of extreme loneliness, but when you are living alone it SURELY CAN feel like you are the only one experiencing this. I completely understand loving to cook and having no one to cook for.

Everyone in this group would love to share their experiences with you and Mayo Clinic Connect is the perfect place to make some new and lasting friends that can help you get through these unprecedented times.

@nannette1941, I know there are several questions above that people are interested to know about you. Would you mind sharing more of your story?

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Good Morning, Thank you for taking the time to read and reply to my SOS. Yes, it does feel as if I were all alone and the only one experiencing this. However, morning when I got up I ask myself why I I feel the way I do and this is the answer I got from myself: if someone around me felt the way I do I would open my home and ask if we could talk about it… SO THIS IS THE ANSWER: I EXPECT OTHERS TO DO FOR ME WHAT I WOULD SURELY DO FOR THEM AND THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

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@merpreb

@nannette1941– Welcome to Mayo Clinic. It's very nice to meet you. I can hear a lot of pain in what you say. Feeling lonely is actually a very lonely feeling. I've felt it many times. I felt as if nobody understood me or what I needed and wanted. I felt like nobody liked me. I'm terrible, I must be. I was pushing people away because I was honestly just a miserable person to be with. I can look back at it now and see this. I complained all the time and dragged people down. I finally entered counseling and finally saw that it wasn't that people didn't want to be with me but that I was asking them to be and do for me what I wasn't doing for myself. And that "doing" was taking actions to change my behaviors. I was burdening people, expecting them to fix me.

You say that you used to be so active. What did you use to do? What is stopping you now from doing "everything?"

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Yes… this is the way I feel, but this morning I decided to change… I got up two hour ago and so far I did one load of laundry and cleaned the deck. My problem is/was I expect others to do for me what I would do for them, and THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN! On Christmas day my oven broke down and I had a lady come for brunch… I managed, she came… I had a fabulous brunch… she ate, left, never even said thank you… This is my problem I do too much for others and I expect too much from others.

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@artscaping

HI there @nannette1941, so it is time for bed. I hope you sleep well. Here is something to chew on……….can you remember feeling good about yourself? What was the occasion?

I see that 1941 at the end of your Connect name and so is it possible you were born in 1941? I was born in 1942. So we share many of the same worries and wonderments about our lives and how things have changed. I sent out about 75 digital Holliday letters and have received 6 replies. I moved from my village of 4,000 on the mountain after 20 years because of the fires. Now I live in a town of 65,000 and yet I feel alone…..like no one knows me.

Do you play games like Bridge or Mahjongg? Of course, this COVID has kept even the most avid Bridge player at home. Do you have family here and do they Zoom? My daughter and granddaughters have a Bed Party with me every other Sunday evening. I think I spend more time with them now because of Zoom. And we are all together. My daughter joins us for morning YOGA on Saturdays and Sundays. That is another connection I never had before.

What other activities do you enjoy? Are you creative? Have you made anything you would like to share? We have several groups of discussion open to anyone. Check out "Just Want to Talk" or "The Chat Room".

One more question…..how are you feeling physically? How is your health in general?

I hope to hear from you in the morning. And while I sense that you are despondent and lonely, I hope you have not had thoughts about self-harm. You know that there will always be someone to help when you call the National Suicide Help Line 800 293-8255.

May you be content and at peace.
Chris

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Yes, I was born in 1941; in France. I love to paint watercolor, I am a published author: poetry, one of my poem was selected for the millennium book of poetry; I love to cook (and I am a gourmet cook) I love to entertain but people do not like to come to my house because they say they could never entertain the way I do… actually a hamburger would do with a glass of wine… I entertain because I need and want friends. That is as simple as that.

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@nannette1941

Good Morning, Thank you for taking the time to read and reply to my SOS. Yes, it does feel as if I were all alone and the only one experiencing this. However, morning when I got up I ask myself why I I feel the way I do and this is the answer I got from myself: if someone around me felt the way I do I would open my home and ask if we could talk about it… SO THIS IS THE ANSWER: I EXPECT OTHERS TO DO FOR ME WHAT I WOULD SURELY DO FOR THEM AND THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

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@nannette1941– If you expect people to do for you what you would do for others then I fear that you will continue to be very disappointed. About a dozen years ago I was visiting family. My daughter-in-law, who thought that everyone should love her newborn as she did. She decided that because another family member hadn't flown across the country to visit and meet the new child she would return his gift. She didn't want anything to do with him. She thought that his very generous gift was not how she expected him to act. This to me is trying to control how people behave and feel. If I make lunch for someone I do expect a thank you. But I don't expect that person to duplicate and reciprocate based on what I wanted.

Do your friends know how you really feel? Have you told your friends how you want them to treat you or act towards you?

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