As the elders age, they go through many physiological and psychological changes. Their skin gets full of wrinkles, their bodies become weaker and saggy, and they may suffer from aches and pain (Bryner, 2010). Remembering things might become harder as well since cognitive changes are present. Some people believe that becoming older adults is depressing. The stereotypes say that being old is the saddest part of life and that the elderly are not capable of doing many things that younger people do. Some people see old age as a negative thing because they believe that it brings loneliness, but this is not true (Tanner, 2008). It has been found that for many elders being a senior is the best and that they are living the happier times of their lives (“Good news for,” 2009). One of the reasons is that the elderly are happy with what they have unlike younger people that focus in what they don’t have and want. The elderly value their accomplishments in life and learn to feel good with what they did in the past. They become more optimistic and realistic than they were before. As the seniors become older, they tend to be happier and more positive.
My grandmother is one of the happiest ladies on earth. She has told me that after all she has been through, being happy is the only option to overcome hard times. Studies have shown that the elderly are happier because as they age, they focus more on their positive memories, not the negative ones (Hsu, 2012). One of the reasons may be that the elderly let go of the past. They live day by day and do not worry about goals anymore. They focus on their well-being. This indicates that the happier that they are, the better they feel.
The cognitive processes in the elderly may be responsible for why they are happier. In a research study, a group of seniors were shown pictures of faces and situations expressing different emotions, both positive and negative. The elderly focused more on the pictures with positive expressions than the negative ones (Hsu, 2012). Cognitive processes also help the elderly with their emotions. In my grandmother’s case, she has decided to forget the painful parts of her past and live life to the fullest because she wants to be happy. She is always smiling and recalling the happy parts of her childhood and when she grew up. She loves talking of how her children were when they were little and what a strong woman she has been all her life. She is optimistic and is satisfied with her life. I can see clearly how she controls her emotions, so learning how to control ones emotions may be a key to being a happy senior.
To conclude, the elderly become wiser and have reached the maturity which is consistent with happiness (Harms, 2008). All the years have taught them infinite lessons and maybe this makes the happy elderly see life with more enthusiasm. They start focusing on their well-being instead of focusing on goals. The stressful years have passed so they live life with less stress. Unfortunately not everything is perfect and many factors may affect the elderly’s happiness like their social status and the environment where they live but they are still happier than the younger people in their same position (Tanner, 2008). They try to stay away from negativity and try to take the good out from the bad. Some elders that are surrounded by negative people try to stay away from them and look for positive friends. Although the elderly go through hard times in life such as losing friends and family members they tend to be more optimistic and move on from grief. So aging is not bad after all and with age comes happiness as Lindsey Tanner states, “It turns out the golden years really are golden.”
Bryner, J. (2010, April 04). Live science. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/6274-age-bring-happiness-despair.html
Cox, H. (2011). Annual editions: Aging 11/12. (24th ed., p. 37). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.
Good news for elderly: Happiness keeps growing. (2009, August 13). Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2009/08/13/good-news-for-elderly-happiness-keeps-growing
Harms, W. (2008, April 16). Uchicago news. Retrieved from http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2008/04/16/age-comes-happiness-university-chicago-study-shows
Hsu, C. (2012, January 09). Medical daily. Retrieved from
Tanner, L. (2008, April 18). Usa today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2008-04-18-older-happier-americans_N.htm