“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 AgingHere 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 OverIs 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.