Sorensen & Pinquart (2000) reasoned that perhaps this high level of satisfaction was partly due to the feeling of security that comes with having enough money and partly because those who are healthy and have sufficient money are more easily able to remain actively involved. Underpinning the Judgment Theories on SWB, most investigators in social gerontology believe that elderly people develop a sense of life satisfaction or well being by comparing their goals or aspirations with their actual accomplishments or achievements.
Financial security and material success are thought to play a major role in this self-evaluative process (Krause, 1993). As the findings of the study suggested, this sense of security effected by money could be the reason why the elderly develop a sense of attachment to money and encounter difficulty to part with it. They must be construing increase in money or income to increased sense of security. However, according to livability theory, increases in income above the basic needs level would only increase in SWB to the extent that people used their income for self-actualizing activities (Deiner & Suh, 2000).
This contention of livability theory had been explicit in the case of those elderly who were generous with their money. Thus, money can increase or decrease happiness, depending on how it is used. For the elderly money was important at the same time money was not the thing in their lives. This observation is aligned with the findings of Denier et al. (1999) & Myers (2000), happiness tends to be lower among very poor, but once the basic needs are met income/money no longer influential. Meaningful Relationships Family.
Nourishing or meaningful relationships is one of the factors positively affecting sense of well-being among the institutionalized aged. The presumption that meaningful and satisfying relationship predicts well-being was confirmed in the results of the study. It is underscored by empirical evidences that close intact relationships predict health/well-being. Compared with those having few social ties, people supported by close relationships with family, friends, or other support groups are less vulnerable to ill health and premature death (Butler et al. , 1998).
The significant relationships that played a vital role in the life of the institutionalized elderly under study were relationship with the family, friends, and people in responsibility or the authority in the institution. Despite the fact that the respondents of the study were forced to be in the home for the aged by environmental factors/the family situation, their present life satisfaction remained closely related to family closeness that they expreienced and the satisfaction that they had from having performed their duty to their children/family.
This was highlighted by Thomas & Chambers (1987) that family relationship is one of the most important influences on satisfaction and happiness among elderly, and that older people derive more satisfaction from family and neighbors (Witmer & Sweeny, 1992). As Long & Martin (2000) observed, because the old adults have so much invested in their children, their childrens level of attachment, affection association, and fulfillment of filial obligations would decrease their loneliness.
In general, they are stringent in spending on their own needs and relinquish their personal comforts in the process of amassing wealth and investing it on to making their childrens future secure. This presumption is supported by other empirical studies done on the influence of culture on this aspect of wellbeing. In collectivist cultures, people are more willing to sacrifice their desires to the will of the groups (Myers, 2000); and are more likely to sacrifice their personal happiness to their duty (Dienier, 2000). Consequently, even the slightest sign of insensitivity or indifference from the part their children can hurt them deeply.
For example, at one moment an inadvertent soulful cry rose from a mother of two children (case 5), shattering all her defenses that she carefully guarded all through: if there was someone who loved us¦someone who would take care of us, we would not have come and stayed here in an old age home¦ we have nobody¦ The study done by Thomas & Chambers (1989) and Lefrancois (1990) further support the finding on this aspect of well-being among the elderly that family relationships are usually the most important of all social relationships throughout the entire lifespan; they continue to be tremendously important to the very end.
The scenes of the institutionalized elderly regardless of their civil status, waiting for the ritualistic phone calls week after week indicated plainly how important it was for them to feel that they belonged and to receive symbolic gestures of love and care from their significant people in their life. According to Doress-Worters & Siegal (1994) home/family is the center of life with its treasured mementos and familiar furnishings and it provides a link to the past and a feeling of rootedness for the elderly and consequently it maintains their sense of well-being.