Happiness and optimism increase with age; poll results challenge ageist stereotypes, says expert
TORONTO, March 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Robert Browning once said, "Grow old along with me; the best is yet to be," and new research from Revera Inc., a Canadian leader in seniors' accommodation, care and services, reveals Canadian seniors agree. According to the Revera Report on Happiness - released just prior to the first annual United Nations International Day of Happiness - the older you are, the happier you are. Canadian seniors (66-plus years of age) are more likely than any other generation to report that 'aging means you are happier;' in fact, they are twice as likely as Gen X and Baby Boomers to make the statement.
The Revera Report on Happiness, developed in partnership with the International Federation on Ageing, reveals the majority of seniors (65 per cent) are happy with their life, and over half (57 per cent) are optimistic about aging. Interestingly, optimism further increases as you get older, with 62 per cent of those 75-plus saying they are optimistic about aging. Those 75-plus are also the most likely to say age is just a number (70 per cent) and you never stop living life to the fullest (42 per cent).
Canadians are not alone; a Gallup poll of more than 340,000 people in the U.S., published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed similar results, suggesting that Americans also get happier as they get older.1
"These findings help dispel some of the common stereotypes of aging that perpetuate ageist attitudes," says Dr. Amy D'Aprix, gerontologist and expert on aging. "In fact, older Canadians are very positive about aging, and this sends an important message to younger generations that getting older is not a negative thing."
And it seems they need to hear this message, specifically Gen Y and Gen X, most of whom report they are not happy with their life right now, nor do they express optimism towards aging. In fact, only one in four Gen Y and Gen Xers report being optimistic about aging. They are also the most likely generation to describe people 75 and older as dependent, sick, frail or grumpy.
This may be because overall, 89 per cent of Canadians associate aging with something negative, like not being able to get around easily, losing independence, or being alone.
According to the Revera Report on Happiness, 42 per cent of Canadian seniors 75-plus say the best is yet to come. The top three things they look forward to as they age include: being comfortable in their own skin (68 per cent); being surrounded by friends and family (62 per cent); and having time to do things that are important to them (61 per cent).
"The United Nations International Day of Happiness is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on this group of role models that is too often overlooked," says Jeff Lozon, President and CEO at Revera Inc. "There are many ways people live their lives to the fullest well into their later years, and we see this every day with the people we serve across the country."
In 2012, Revera in partnership with the International Federation on Ageing, launched AGE IS MORE, which challenges negative attitudes and stereotypes faced by seniors, promotes an age inclusive society and celebrates the ageless spirit of older people. Canadians are encouraged to visit AgeisMore.com to learn more about ageism and its impact, and get tips on how to be more age inclusive. On AgeisMore.com, Canadians are also encouraged to share their personal stories of seniors who inspire them.
"Age truly is just a number," says Dr. Amy D'Aprix. "We need to challenge ageist stereotypes, view aging with optimism and treat older adults as vibrant and valued contributors to society."
Notes To Editor: Interview Opportunities are available with Dr. Amy D'Aprix, Gerontologist, who is available to talk about the benefits of keeping a positive attitude at every stage of life. Trish Barbato, Senior Vice President of Home Health and Business Development at Revera Inc. and older people in the GTA are also available.
About the Revera Report on Happiness
Revera, in partnership with Leger Marketing, surveyed online Canadians aged 18-32 (Gen Y's), 33-45 (Gen X's), 46-65 (Boomers), 66-74 (Younger Seniors) and 75-plus (Older Seniors) to better understand their attitudes on aging. The survey was completed online from August 24th to September 4th, 2012 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1,501 Canadians. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The Revera Report on Happiness is one in a series of reports issued by Revera exploring different topics relevant to the aging experience of Canadian seniors.
About Revera Inc.
Revera is a leading provider of seniors' accommodation, care and services; built on a 50-year history of helping seniors live life to the fullest. With approximately 250 sites across Canada and parts of the U.S., we work to enhance lives in our retirement communities, long term care homes, U.S. nursing and rehab centres and through the provision of home health services. Canadian-owned and operated, Revera serves approximately 30,000 clients every day, with the core values of respect, integrity, compassion and excellence at the heart of our business. Find out more about Revera at www.reveraliving.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter.
About the International Federation on Ageing
The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) is an international, non-governmental organization and point of global connection to experts and expertise in the field of aging. We believe in generating positive change for older people through helping to shape and influence effective age-related and senior policies and practice. For more information about the IFA visit www.ifa-fiv.org.
1 http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/05/04/1003744107.abstract Accessed March 6, 2012.
SOURCE: Revera Inc.
For further information:
Sandra Vlaar Ingram