Guess Who's Happiest? Older Adults Score Highest

The secret to happiness is found in our later years, according to a Gallup-Healthways poll.
LOS ANGELES - March 23, 2017 - PRLog -- The secret to happiness is found in our later years, according to a Gallup-Healthways poll. That should come as no surprise since many older individuals are living healthier, more engaged lives than ever before, says Dr. Noelle Nelson, author of Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right (MindLab Publishing).

"The survey shows two things," says Nelson. "One, society's stereotype of older people as being worn out, depressed and sickly is simply not true, and second, instead of dreading the thought of growing older, we should be looking forward to those years as a time of renewal and joy."

The 2015 poll ( compared the well-being of Americans age 55 and over with those in younger age brackets. Older Americans achieved a well-being index score three points higher than those under 55. Participants were asked about their level of worry, stress and depression. In each category, older Americans registered significantly lower levels than younger age groups. The survey also asked participants about their amount of exercise, eating habits, healthcare and financial wellbeing. With the exception of exercise, those age 55 and over scored the highest in all categories.

Some experts believe happiness through life comes in the form of a u-shaped curve. "We are typically happy during our childhood, feel the stress of determining who we want to be in life, raising a family and finding a financial footing in our middle years and then enjoying peace and satisfaction in our later years."

Nelson says since life spans are increasing, "old age" can cover 30 to 40 years. "Ultimately, it's up to each of us as individuals to decide how we choose to live those years," she says. "Attitude, attention to health, staying active and being part of large social structure with friends and family can make all the difference between a miserable life and one worth living—rules to live by regardless of age."



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Diane Rumbaugh
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