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.

Inevitable Loss: The Passage of Time

Who do you think is lonelier – adults in their mid to late 40s or adults age 70 and older? One might surmise that the older folks have experienced more loss of loved ones, diminished physical or mental abilities and/or are less active, which could lead to increased loneliness. Counter to what many people think, folks ages 45-49 are lonelier than those 70 years and older according to our research (43% vs. 25%, respectively). In fact, older people are happier …

Volunteering: Going Far Together

September 11 was AARP’s annual Day of Service where all employees can volunteer their time and talents to a charity of their choice. Along with 10 other AARP employees, I volunteered at Martha’s Table, a 33-year-old Washington, DC charity that, among other projects, feeds 1,100 people daily, many of them homeless. They also run a preschool and after school program for children from low income families.  As the Food Prep Volunteers, we chopped our way through what seemed like bottomless …

August is the Sunday of the Months

If you are confused by this blog’s title, it is a phrase I heard recently from my niece. We were talking about vacation and she said, “Yep, August is the Sunday of the months as it is the time to relax.” What do I do to relax? I like to go to movies just like 58% of the 50+ (see our fact sheet below) and Woody Allen’s new movie Blue Jasmine is a must see Movie for Grownups. I love Broadway …

What Is a ‘Real’ Vacation?

This would seem to be an easy question, but I think many of us would define “vacation” differently. For some it’s simply days off – not being at work. For others a true vacation means getting away – traveling – to someplace different than home. I’ve encountered many folks who regularly do not take any vacation. Workers accrue unused vacation days, their firms do not let them roll them over to the next year, and they just let them expire. I …

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 …