All of the chronic health problems, age-related slowdowns, sadness about growing old, caregiving for family members, and generalized fears about Alzheimer’s disease may not be making us that unhappy, according to a May 31, 2010, New York Times article, Happiness May Come With Age, Study Says. The article describes research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Boston.com also noted the research in a June 1, 2010, news report, With Years Come Happiness, A Study Suggests. Both articles, written by Nicholas Bakalar, describe a Gallup poll finding that people seem to get happier after age 50. An abstract to the published journal article, A Snapshot of the Age Distribution of Psychological Well-being In the United States, is available.
As always, more study is needed, but what fun for aging/adult children to think about increasing happiness as we age.
Thanks for sharing this report. You always seem to find the most pertinent and informative information. This issue of what it is really like to experience growing older is one that we are also addressing at Inside Aging Parent Care. I think most of us have absorbed the idea that getting really old is pretty awful unless we are able to create a life that looks a lot like a slowed down version of middle age. Someone like my father who is in care and not at all interested in group activities or an exercise program is almost by definition failing at old age or on the brink of death. But this research, which supports the theories of the Swedish researcher Lars Tornstam, postulates that it is not anything that these folks are doing particularly that is making them happier. As Oswald said it is something deeper that is going on. We explore this idea at http://www.desperatecaregivers.com/caregiver-support-2/gerotranscendence-good-news-for-caregivers-and-their-aging-parents I’m excited that you are exploring these issues here as well.