Some interesting insights revealed from research reported in this article from the BBC.
Despite worries about ill health, income, changes in social status and bereavements, later life tends to be a golden age, according to psychologists. They found older adults generally make the best of the time they have left and have learned to avoid situations that make them feel sad or stressed. By reviewing the available studies on emotions and ageing psychiatrists found that mental wellbeing generally improved with age, except for people with dementia-related ill health.
- Older people were far less likely than the younger to experience persistent negative moods and were more resilient to hearing personal criticism.
- They were also much better at controlling and balancing their emotions – a skill that appeared to improve the older they became.
- Older people are increasingly aware that the time they have left in life is growing shorter.
- They want to make the best of it so they avoid engaging in situations that will make them unhappy.
- They have also had more time to learn and understand the intentions of others which helps them to avoid these stressful situations.
Too many younger people assume that getting older is a process that will inevitably mean sickness, frailty and lack of mobility and greater dependence. However, this is far from the truth in very many cases. Many older people lead active, healthy lives enriched by experience and learning. “It’s vital that there is growing acceptance that just because someone is getting older, it doesn’t mean they no longer have a significant contribution to make.”