ARE CANADIAN SENIORS HAPPY?

No matter how old we are or where we live, we are all seeking the same thing—happiness. That’s why the Christenson Group of Companies has spent decades investing in research and developing innovative communities to help Alberta seniors live richer, more satisfying lives.

According to a new Statistics Canada study making headlines, the majority of Canadians over the age of 65 actually report an overall higher life satisfaction than younger adults. What researchers found is that overall life satisfaction comes from several factors, from your health and standard of living, to your life achievements, personal relationships and participation in your community.

We live in the best country in the world

A high standard of living gives Canadian seniors a reason to smile. For three years in a row, Canada has been named the best country in the world for quality of life, and the second best country in the world overall, according to the annual Best Countries ranking compiled by U.S. News & World Report.

Among the factors that make Canada a great place to live: political stability, our public education system, affordability, a safe environment and a well-developed public health care system. Put it all together, and it’s clear that Canadian seniors have a solid foundation upon which to build happy lives.

Time with family and friends makes us happier

Nurturing our relationships with loved ones contributes to our happiness. A survey of U.S. seniors conducted a few years ago by the National Council on Aging found that among Americans aged 60 and over, 41 per cent felt that “seeing their children and grandchildren grow up is the most exciting prospect of living a longer life.” Approximately one-fifth of respondents said spending time with family and friends would be “the best part of their bonus years.”

We see this in Christenson’s active senior living communities across Alberta. Many of our residents who take part in social activities or receive regular visits from family members report feeling happy at this point in their lives. Even if they don’t get time with immediate family because of distance or other factors, time spent with extended family, friends and neighbours is also valuable. In Christenson Communities, having fun with family and friends and pursuing a variety of interests are priorities—reflected in amenities like games rooms, exercise centres, movie rooms and regular events and programs.

The Happiness Scale says 57 is the new 27

As baby boomers began turning 65, Psychology Today took an in-depth look at seniors and happiness. They too found that older people are generally happier people. A poll of men and women in different age groups across 149 countries showed that people in their 20s had high levels of happiness, with a gradual drop-off at mid-life. The decline occurred between the ages of 39 and 57 with 50 being a “happiness low point.”

Surprisingly, happiness ratings climbed steadily from 50 and continued to rise into the 90s, creating what researchers called a “U-curve” of happiness. Obviously, getting older has its challenges, and there are many factors that contribute to our satisfaction with life, but all of this research should give seniors (and future seniors) cause for optimism.

Happiness is possible at any age

Spending time with family and friends, living in a safe, peaceful country that offers great healthcare and public education, and being part of an active, social community all contribute to our happiness. Not only does the research support it, but the happy seniors living in Christenson Communities prove it every day.