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Getting Old; Staying Happy

There’s a myth going around that it is “normal” for older people to be depressed….

  • September 24, 2017

There’s a myth going around that it is “normal” for older people to be depressed. This myth is believed by more than half of all younger people. However, this is just a myth, according to AARP.

The findings of a new independently conducted survey, released by AARP, reveal that younger people (especially those currently age 18-39) may be in for a pleasant surprise later in life – getting older may not be as bad as they expect.

In fact, it’s often a pretty great time of life.  However, as the new survey reveals, that’s usually not their expectation going in.

Nearly half (47 percent) of survey respondents age 18-39 indicated they believe it’s “normal to be depressed when you are old.”

In contrast, just 10 percent of respondents age 60 and up believe old age is a “depressing stage of life.”  (The survey polled 2,601 American adults of whom 1,027 respondents were age 18-39; 924 were age 45-59, and 650 were age 60 and up.)

Additionally, survey respondents age 60 and up reported higher levels of life satisfaction than their younger counterparts: 67 percent of people age 60-plus reported they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their life, versus 61 percent of people age 18-39 and 60 percent of those age 40-59.

“The findings of this new survey are further confirmation of something a lot of people, especially older people, know instinctively and that is that our upper ages can be great,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins.

“However, I think the survey also presents a fairly stark reminder that we’re all faced by a lot of negative associations around aging – some of it’s ‘in the culture’ and some of it may be self-generated, but it’s all damaging and, as this survey shows, it’s often wrong.”

Despite the generally positive findings of the survey (as compared to the negative expectations younger people have about aging), the new survey reveals that it’s not all blue skies in later life – especially as a consumer.

A sizable majority of survey respondents believe that older customers are not well served by a variety of industries.

Among the prime offenders: the fashion industry (68 percent of respondents said older people are not as well served as other customers), technology (62 percent), sports (58 percent), entertainment (55 percent.)

See the full results at

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