Surveys have found that older people tend to be more content than when they were younger, which displaces a fallacy often believed that the elderly are miserable and old age is to be shunned and ignored. I have a lot to do with the elderly in my role as an Aged Care Placement Consultant and I do all I can to make sure my clients find suitable accommodation in which they can enjoy their later years and find contentment.
New research from Buffalo University and Northwestern University in the USA has shed light on this subject. Claudia Haase, a professor of social policy at Northwestern and one of the study’s authors said “When we think of old age, we often think of decline and loss but a growing body of research shows that some things actually get better as we age.” The study, published online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, shows that one possible reason behind improvements in well-being for the aged is that people become more trusting as they age, which in turn carries a number of benefits for their well-being. In the first study, researchers studied the link between age and trust in a sample of nearly 200,000 people from 83 countries at different points in the past 30 years. A second study followed over 1,200 Americans of different ages (Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers) over time.
“Trust may benefit well-being because a sense of trust in other people allows us to derive support, comfort and pleasure from our social relationships,” Haase said. “People who trust more are also happier. Moreover, our study shows that people who trust more are not only happier today, but they also experience increases in happiness over time.”
This attitude is well summed up by an elderly, legally blind lady who moved to an Aged Care Home when her carer/husband died and displayed delight at the room, although she couldn’t see it. She explained “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”
This is why I love my job. It give me pleasure helping people like this find good accommodation with all the services, companionship and care they need to enjoy the rest of their life.