Seniors Optimistic About Aging, Survey Shows

Concerns about the economy, unemployment rates and the uncertainty of the country’s financial future have everyone worried. But there is one segment of society experiencing less anxiety about what the future holds: Seniors.

A recent survey from the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA Today shows that most older Americans (over 60) are optimistic about their future. Generally regarded as the last generation to experience and enjoy the fruits of their labors, older Americans may very well be the last to live The American Dream. Many receive employer-provided pensions, sold homes before the real estate crisis (or have paid off their mortgages), and are grandfathered in to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits. This all adds up to a rather rosy outlook on life.

The inaugural United States of Aging Survey to examined 2,250 seniors about their outlook and preparedness for aging, and their community’s ability to meet their needs as they age. Most seniors plan to age in place and continue to live in their homes, those surveyed view senior-living facilities in their community favorably.

And while most respondents were generally content with their finances and health, the one area of concern is caregiving. More than half of seniors aged 70 and older have someone they consider a caregiver and the vast majority of caregivers are family members. But when senior needs become greater than the family caregiver can provide, most realize that they will have to turn to local, professional caregivers to accomplish the tasks of daily living. The question then becomes how to pay for care in this age of declining government funding?

But until those caregiving needs arise, the majority of older Americans believe that they are aging healthy and have a strong sense of purpose and passion about their lives and their future. 

The Science of Happiness includes 3 different types of happiness:

1) Rock-Star Moments

2) In-the-Flow of a Favorite Activity

3) Sense of Purpose

The Rock-Star Moments are those emotional highs that are wonderful but not lasting because they are "moments", such as your graduation day, your wedding day, the day your baby is born or the day you received the big promotion.  It is a wonderful moment and this is why often you'll hear about the rock star who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol because they are in search of that same high again and again.  It is a wonderful moment, but does not last.

The In-the-Flow happiness is when you are running or biking or boating or doing that favorite activity that just makes you feel relaxed and at peace.

The Sense-of-Purpose happiness is lasting happiness that sustains a person because it delivers fulfillment and also is lasting.  This happens when people are actively involved in living life and engaged with others in their daily activities.  Seniors, we hope, have figured out this sense of purpose and perhaps this helps deliver their happiness.

For now, this is good news that the elderly we are finding are the happiest bunch of Americans!

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