Health Problems Not a Barrier to Seniors’ Happiness

By: Bel Marra Health | General Health | Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 11:19 PM

Life can throw a lot of challenges at you as you grow older.  Health problems may increasingly become an issue.

Chronic symptoms can affect day-to-day living. Friends  can pass away. Things may be a little stressful financially  as you learn to live with less income.

But in spite of all this, seniors are generally happy. In fact, they seem to experience more happiness than any other age group — at least according to a new study just published by the department of sociology at the University of Chicago.

Researchers surveyed Americans annually from 1972-2007. During each survey period, 1,500 to 3,000 people were interviewed. They were asked the following question:  “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days? Would you say that you are very happy, pretty or not too happy?”

It turns out that more than half of people over the age of 80  said they were “very happy.” Young people scored much farther down on the happiness scale, and those from the baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, also scored lower.

The results of this latest study have surprised some people in the medical community. Many of us hold a particular stereotype of what it’s like to be older and it usually  involves envisioning a life with no exciting job to go to, no passionate sex life, poor health, and an aged body. But this study hints that the reality may be very different.

Many seniors continue to be employed in their communities through volunteer work. Many seniors find working as a volunteer liberating. They are often treated well, are appreciated and are usually involved in something that has a direct benefit to the community.

And of course when it comes to sex, seniors continue to be active and enjoy passionate relationships with their partners. Many seniors find themselves embarking on new relationships later in life, in fact, that are full and rewarding experiences.

Seniors also seem to be quite accepting of the natural aging process of the body. Many keep active and embrace their extra wrinkles and graying hair with equanimity.

So, if you are in the process of aging — as we all are — cheer up! With age come a certain wisdom and ability to enjoy the here and now for what it is. Seniors often take the time to attend religious services regularly, engage in social activities, and visit with neighbors and friends.

You might find as you grow older that you are better able to appreciate what you have going for you, rather than what you don’t. It seems that seniors also have the ability to look at other people and realize that their own lot in life is not so bad at all.

RELATED READING: 10 Tips for happiness


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