I'm Senior Vice President of AARP's Research Center, and am focused on fostering understanding of the interests and concerns of people age 50+ and their families. Before coming to AARP, I served as the Vice President of Global Market Research & Guest Satisfaction for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Eudaimonia, Hedonism, and Happiness, Oh My!

Everyone wants to be happy – it’s a no-brainer. But what is happiness? The Greek word for happiness is “eudaimonia” which means “having a guiding angel.” In 1776, the Founding Fathers felt it important enough to mention the” pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. By the 19th century, economists felt they could measure happiness in units of pleasure, but they learned that money could not buy happiness because a person with twice as much income as another was …

The No. 1 Aspiration of the 50+

Whenever we ask folks ages 50 and over what they are most looking forward to doing in their later years, more often than not their response is, “Travel!” Travel is the No. 1 aspiration of the 50-plus. People want to travel to experience new things and spend time with family and friends. It makes them feel happy and fulfilled. I think the desire to travel and explore starts at an early age. I remember summer days getting my bike, a …

If I can’t remember all my online passwords, am I losing it?

Every time I have to log into one of my online accounts and have no clue what the password is, I wonder if I am finally “losing it.” I know I am not alone with this fear, as survey after survey we conduct among our members reveals their interest in brain fitness. In our most recent Member Opinion Survey, staying mentally sharp was one of members’ top concerns. However, apparently this questioning is not unique to my boomer age group. …

Call Your Mom! Wait, What Do You Mean You Already Did?

With Mother’s Day around the corner, let me add my praise for mothers. I applaud the efforts every mother makes to try to ensure their children live a well-balanced life. I also applaud aunts and grandmothers too, as more and more it takes a village to raise Millennials! Mother’s Day is a huge day for retailers who sell flowers and chocolates. In my own qualitative assessment, these sellers are in for another banner holiday. At a big warehouse store this …

Indulge Yourself with Health

I LOVE FOOD. I love thinking about food. I love dining out. But when it comes down to it, my favorite foods are incredibly simple: tuna salad with a mayo and celery at home, or spaghetti with Bolognese sauce when I dine out. While I like to watch reruns of Julia Child cooking for their entertainment value, I have no desire to cook coq au vin or beef bourguignon. Whether you enjoy being creative in the kitchen, or (like me) …

Online Dating: How About We … Start Again

I suspect most people can remember their first kiss, first date, first love – and have even rated those experiences versus subsequent encounters with rose-colored glasses. How many of us have ended up marrying or living for an extended period with their first love? Or maybe you split up and haven’t heard from them since. I married my high school boyfriend, but not until 20 years after graduation. The marriage did not last (over 60% of second marriages end in …