Why Getting Older is a Good Thing

Older people are happy.  Myth or fact?

Actually, this is true, according to the Revera Report on Happiness released just last month. They conducted an online survey of 1,501 Canadians of various ages in order to better understand their attitudes on aging and revealed that older people are much more positive about aging as compared to the views of the younger generation.

The report echoes results found in American studies such as a Gallup poll of over 340,000 people in the USA which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Amy D’Aprix, a Toronto gerontologist and aging expert, believes that this report sends a positive message to younger generations that getting older is not a negative thing.

Overall, 89% of Canadians feel that aging is associated with something negative like losing independence and being alone. However older people, especially those in the 75+ age bracket feel that the best is yet to come. The three things that they cite as contributing to their happiness as they age are: being comfortable in their own skin (68%), being surrounded by friends and family (62%) and having time to do things that are important to them (61%).
Read more on how to have a happy retirement in Seven Ways to Retire Happy

I can totally relate to those feelings. I am a boomer and still working full time.  I yearn for enough time to partake in all the activities that I will hopefully do when I retire. Having time to travel extensively and reading all the classics that I never got around to are my top two priorities, and I see aging as a natural progression and aim to lead a healthy lifestyle so I can thoroughly enjoy my retirement years.

Trish Barbato, Senior Vice President, Home Health & Business Development at Revera Inc. is justifiably proud of Revera’s contribution to the field of aging. Revera, a leading provider of seniors’ accommodation, care & services, collaborated with the International Federation on Ageing to launch Age is More which aims to dispel negative attitudes and stereotypes faced by seniors. One of the strategies is to profile seniors who are living life to the fullest. There are numerous examples of these positive role models along with their personal stories on AgeisMore.com. Trish affirms that Revera Inc. will continue to conduct research on aging and is committed to raising awareness about ageism, which is the most widely tolerated form of social prejudice in Canada today. She hopes the initiative will ultimately affect social change so that communities become much more aligned to seniors’ needs.

A desirable outcome from reducing ageism would be to facilitate older adults (55+) to obtain meaningful jobs. This is a very important issue because as people age and live longer healthier lives, they may want to keep working longer. Revera certainly encourages this practice; in fact they have a number of staff that are older than 65 years.
Read more on the topic of ageism, including common myths, in Age is More: Challenging Attitudes About Aging

How does the rest of corporate Canada measure up to the challenge of an aging population? Dr. Amy D’Aprix uses her background in social work and gerontology to consult with businesses such as BMO. She works with their staff to create strategies to better service BMO’s older clientele. She also assists staff by providing expert advice on caregiving issues, retirement planning, wills & power of attorney.

Dr. D'Aprix states that older people have more wisdom and experience but this is contained in an older body. Older people have a lot to offer and they should not be marginalized and discounted. The Hallmark cards or Hollywood depictions of older adults are not accurate. People are living healthier, they continue doing the things that made them happy and they do not withdraw from life. I think that is a very positive message that bears repeating. Canadians need to embrace aging as a good thing, not as an inevitable decline of health and happiness.

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Do you think seniors are happier? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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