The “NEW” truth about aging is about throwing out old stereotypes!
AARP Second Half of Life Study: In collaboration with National Geographic Partners shows that older Americans are redefining their health, defying challenges and living with purpose
“Happiness in older age isn’t about wealth, beauty, or any of the other standards typically associated with youth-driven pop culture”
AARP Second Half of Life Study
The “NEW” Truth About Aging
Here are some highlights from the study results
- Overall self-reported happiness grows with age, with a striking spike among those age 70-plus. The research shows this increased happiness is bolstered by a focus on quality of life over quantity of years, and the importance of relationships and independence
- Friends, family, and community are the hallmarks of finding happiness. There’s a steady linear increase in how we rate our close relationships over time. By age 80, 85 percent describe their human connections as excellent or very good — up from 56 percent before age 40.
- Despite medicine’s obsession with prolonging life, people are not overly concerned with how long they will live. Instead, individuals are more in tune with the quality of their lives. A long life should be gratifying, not simply a march through time, they feel.
- Healthy “with conditions” is the new norm. About 2 out of 3 people in their 50s and 8 out of 10 in their 80s are living with one or more serious or chronic health condition. And despite their arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease or other conditions, 78 to 83 percent rated their health good, very good or excellent.
- The study shows that we have more concerns about our future when we’re under 40 than we do in our 70s or 80s,
- About 2 out of 3 of the oldest adults, age 80 and older, say they’re living their “best possible life” or close to it, compared with just 1 in 5 younger adults. THAT IS AMAZING and part of the “NEW” truth about aging.
- An impressive 44 percent of people 80 or older say they do strength exercises— making them as serious about muscles as the youngest in the study
Midlife Crisis Move Over
Is 60 the new 40?
Based on survey responses, our 60s is the watershed decade when it comes to the shifts in attitudes about longevity, relationships. well-being and wealth. Concerns about life expectancy drop, while worries about stamina, cognitive skills, diminishing eyesight and memory loss peak. Our ratings of connection with friends and family rise and we get more serious about physical health, too.
Is Optimism A Lifestyle?
The study found that those with an optimistic outlook were twice as likely to be engaged in healthy behaviors as those with a pessimistic attitude.
“My research shows that positive beliefs about aging can act as a buffer against stress, bolster your sense of control over your life and even your will to live, and motivate good habits,” Becca Levy, professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.
Resilience is A Key to Healthy Aging
Resilience is the ability to recover from disruptions, in contrast to either preventing disruptions or allowing them to be deterministic. The resilience model of healthy aging is the idea that individuals who manage to navigate adversity maintain high levels of functioning and demonstrate resilience. Resilience includes acceptance that disruptions will arise over time and produce negative impacts and the effects of adversity do not have to be permanent or deterministic of future life experiences.
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The “NEW” Truth About Aging
The results of this study provide a counterpoint to the idea that aging means we are frail and helpless.
Levy, Vicki, and Patty David. AARP’s Second Half of Life Study, in Collaboration with National Geographic Partners and Heart+Mind Strategies. Washington, DC: AARP Research, June 2022
Download the Full Study HERE
How The Study Was Conducted
The AARP-National Geographic “Second Half of Life Study” started with an online and telephone survey of 2,580 adults age 18 and older, conducted in January 2022. Participants were randomly selected. The results of that survey were weighted to accurately reflect the demographics of the United States, as outlined by the 2020 U.S. census. Those demographic categories include age group, gender, geographic region, ethnicity and education level. The second part of this study was conducted in February and March, when 25 individual 30-minute interviews were conducted with adults 40 and older.