Older, wiser and happier?

Happiness and optimism increase with age, according to one poll.

'Grumpy old men' may be the popular caricature in films and soaps, but a poll by Revera Inc has found that older people – those aged 66 and above – are more likely than any other generation to report that "ageing means you are happier".

In fact, they were twice as likely as Generation X and Baby Boomers to agree with that statement.
The majority of seniors surveyed (65%) said they were happy with their life and over half (57%) said they were optimistic about ageing.

Those in the 75-plus age group were the most likely to agree that age is just a number (70 per cent) and that you never stop living life to the fullest (42 per cent).

The top three things over-75s said they were looking forward to as they age include: being comfortable in their own skin (68 per cent); being surrounded by friends and family (62 per cent); and having time to do things that are important to them (61 per cent).

By contrast, only one in four in Generation Y (those born between 1977 and 1998) and Generation X (those born in the Sixties and Seventies) said they were optimistic about ageing (26% and 27% respectively).

Gen Y and Gen X were also least likely to say they were happy with their life right now (37% and 41% respectively).  Boomers were slightly more positive, with 53% saying they were happy with their life right now.

Gerontologist Dr Amy D'Aprix said the findings send an important message to younger generations "that getting older is not a negative thing".

"These findings help dispel some of the common stereotypes of aging that perpetuate ageist attitudes," she says.

"Age truly is just a number. We need to challenge ageist stereotypes, view aging with optimism and treat older adults as vibrant and valued contributors to society."

Jeff Lozon, President and chief executive at Revera Inc said that although older people are role models, they are often overlooked.

"There are many ways people live their lives to the fullest well into their later years, and we see this every day with the people we serve across the country," he said.