Britain is a nation of wish-makers with nine in ten adults saying they regularly make wishes even though 60% of them have never had a wish come true. Almost a quarter of us wish they could find love; women wish most often for health and men wish for a big lotto win.
Research carried out for brighterkind care homes found that more than one in three people aged 25-34 years wished they could find love in their life and so did one in four 35-44 year olds. By the time people are in their 50’s and 60’s one in eight is still making the same wish, as are one in ten people over 65. Women’s top wish was for good health (49%), whilst the top wish for men was a big lotto win (52%).
When it comes to making wishes for other people, 63% want them to be healthy but only 18% want someone else to win the lotto.
People’s wishes change with age. Although good health was the most frequent wish among all age groups, perhaps not surprisingly, it emerged as the top wish for around three quarters of people over 65, but only a little more than a quarter (28%) in the 25-34 age group.
The most popular time to make a wish is when blowing out candles on a birthday cake, which around 45% of adults do. More than a third (36%) throw coins into a fountain or wishing well and make a wish. Despite the popular song “When you wish upon a star” only around 16% do.
Age differences show up in what we wish on. For instance, among over 55’s around 44% make a wish when pulling a chicken or turkey wishbone, but among the 18-24 age range only around 19% observe this tradition. However, among the younger age group one in five (22%) make a wish when an eyelash falls out. Among the older group only just over 3% do this.
Remarkably, 60% of people making wishes say that they have never had a wish come true. When wishes don’t come true, people take a pragmatic view. They admit it’s probably because they wish for too much, but they carry on wishing all the same.
After health, wealth and love, some of the most popular wishes are to revisit a place they love or experience something they’ve enjoyed in the past.
brighterkind, which commissioned the research, runs a wishing well scheme for residents in its 70 care homes. The scheme involves finding out what residents have always wanted to do or what they have done in the past and would love to do again and to make it happen for them.
Some of the wishes that have been granted for people living in brighterkind homes include:
· Rosemary Harries never lost her love of horses despite not having ridden for many years. Her care home Ross Court arranged for her to ride again at a riding centre for people with disabilities.
· Memories of childhood were rekindled for Greta Halliday when she went with a group of residents from Elm Bank Care Home in Kettering to see the historic Flying Scotsman steam through the town’s station. When she was a girl, Greta used to see the famous train pass through her village in Yorkshire. When she heard that it had been restored and was running again she said that she would love to see it again.
· Seven residents at brighterkind care homes in Jersey had their wishes to go ice skating turned into reality. The residents from Silver Springs, La Haule and Highlands care homes were taken to the Jersey Arctic Village where they experienced wheelchair dancing on ice, being pushed by skating instructors.