By Megan Morrow
Yes, you will have “senior moments.” And true, your short-term memory may start to fade, and aches and pains may last longer. Yet, many older Americans are discovering that there is a true upside to aging, from relationships to wisdom to free programs and tax benefits.
If you tend to brush your birthday aside or worry about the number of candles on your cake, it might be time to focus on the benefits of getting older, which can include:
- Happiness! Older people tend to be happier. Studies show that most people are unhappiest in their 40s and 50s as they face stressors from work and family and that happiness increases as middle age passes. Happier people are also healthier, more productive and more aware of what they have.
- Seniors are better at navigating emotions. They tend to learn how to manage social conflicts, with the abilities to imagine alterative points of view and work out compromises. What bothers someone in their 20s hardly makes a blip on the radar of someone a few decades older, according to studies.
- Financial perks such as guaranteed minimum income, Social Security, Medicare and senior discounts. Programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid can support seniors with health insurance and a safety net. Likewise, special senior discounts can provide incentives for getting out, exploring new things and staying engaged.
- Seniors are more likely to be involved. From politics to volunteering, seniors often have more time to participate in activities and organizations that matter to them. One in four seniors volunteers actively, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and those over the age of 65 report the highest voting rate of any age group.
While stereotypes about aging persist, more people of all ages are recognizing the beauty of getting older and wiser. We also know that attitude goes a long way: Participants in a study on aging who had a positive attitude about the process also showed enhanced cognition, one more reason to focus on the upsides of aging.
No matter what your age, it is important to maintain relationships and connections with people of diverse ages and backgrounds and to cultivate a positive mindset.
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