[OLDER AND BETTER] In the US, happiness increases with age
Older Americans are not only the happiest adult Americans as a whole, but also consider themselves healthier and more financially secure than those in their 40s and 50s, according to a new study published in AARP Bulletin. The "Second Half of Life Study," conducted with National Geographic, was derived from findings of a 15-minute survey of 2,580 US adults ages 18-90. Overall, results indicated that older adults recognize the challenges of growing older but worry about them less as the years pass.
By comparison, middle age is when life’s burdens take on the greatest prominence. About two-thirds of adults over 80 said that they were living their "best possible life" or close to it, compared with just one in five younger adults.
The study disproves many common misconceptions about aging and suggests that greater focus should be put on adults in their 40s and 50s, who reported higher levels of stress and worry and lower levels of life satisfaction and health than older Americans. An analysis of the data reveals, among other findings:
- How Americans are redefining what it means to be healthy, and how "healthy but with chronic conditions" is becoming the new norm.
- Why younger adults' expectations of retirement are different from the experiences of older respondents.
- How personal connections contribute to quality of life as people get older.
To download the full report, AARP-National Geographic Second Half of Life, and related materials, click here
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