Today’s Seniors Are Happy and Positive, Study Finds

April 10, 2013 · Print This Article

Older Canadians are significantly happier than younger generations, and have a much brighter outlook on aging, reports the Calgary Herald. According to a new survey of 1,501 Canadian adults, seniors over the age of 66 are happier and more optimistic about growing older, with those over age 75 leading the pack in positivity. Meanwhile, younger generations (especially Gen X and Gen Y) report low levels of happiness and bleaker views about what retirement age will bring.

Growing Older Gracefully
In a survey of Canadians 18 and over, the Revera Report on Happiness found that the majority of those over age 66 were happy with their lives, with about 65 percent answering positively, compared to only 37 percent of Gen Y (18 to 32) and 41 percent of Gen X (33 to 45). Boomers (46 to 65) were generally positive, with 53 percent reporting that they were happy, but still they didn’t come close to the happiness levels reported by seniors aged 66 and up.

Across the board, positivity went up and negativity went down with each subsequent generation. Older Canadians were much more optimistic about aging. When asked to rank their views on growing older, seniors (66 to 74) came in with an average of 52 percent feeling optimistic about their future years, while older seniors (over 75 years of age) were 62 percent positive about aging. By comparison, only 26 percent of Gen Y, 27 percent of Gen X and 40 percent of boomers said they felt optimistic about growing older.

Expectations of Aging
Despite the fact that seniors were more likely to be happy and positive than their younger counterparts, the perceptions of growing older were not so sunny. 89 percent of all surveyed associated aging with negative aspects, like losing mobility and independence, or ending up alone.

But even here, the trend continues, with the older generations feeling generally happier and more positive than the younger ones. For instance, 30 percent of seniors and 42 percent of older seniors agreed that people never stop living life to the fullest. Meanwhile, only 22 percent of Gen Y, 30 percent of Gen X and 24 percent of Boomers felt the same way. It seems that seniors over age 66 just felt like they had more to be optimistic about with each coming year: according to the study, 68 percent said they looked forward to being comfortable in their own skin, 62 percent were looking forward to being surrounded by family and friends, and 61 percent felt they’d have more time to do things that were important to them.

Quite contrary to the stereotypical image of a crotchety elder, it seems age not only brings perspective, but also an increased ability to enjoy life and all that it brings. Rather than seeing an advancing age as a limitation, many seniors have learned to take advantage of the freedom and experience a well-lived life can bring.

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