Old Age? Science Suggests It’s Not that Bad

Well-being, happiness, thriving, and other buzzwords can have a variety of different meanings in and outside of the scientific community. Well-being is no longer just a personal state of being, it is a serious question in science. The science of well-being is a growing field focusing on more than physical health and the temporal state of happiness. Recent research is revealing that many of us may have popular misconceptions about aging and well-being.

Turns out that it may not be so bad to be old after all, which is really good news for the 10,000 baby boomers that turn 69 each day. A recently released report “State Well-Being Ranks for Older Americans” by Gallup, Healthways, and the MIT AgeLab based upon data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows that older Americans, those age 55 and older, have a higher state of well-being than the younger population. Looking at the 55+ population in greater resolution, people age 75 and older have the highest well-being, followed by those 65-74, and finally those 55-64.

What do we mean by well-being? It is a multitude of dimensions that work together to create quality of life, such as eating well, exercising, having access to healthcare, financial security, a sense of purpose and social aspects of life, and the like. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index captures these measures in five elements:

Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

Despite what we may think about old age, older adults —> Read More