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Older people 'happier than middle-aged'

Older people 'happier than middle-aged'
19th April 2011

People looking to find a care home may be at a happier stage of their life than middle-aged individuals, a survey has shown.

Younger people, who optimistic about the future, and older people, who have accepted their place in life, were both found to be happier than middle-aged people, in a report presented at the Royal Economic Society's annual conference.

According to the study, happiness is "U shaped" and begins to decrease in the late 20s, to hit rock bottom in middle age and beginning to ascend after the age of 50.

Study leader Bert van Landeghem, of Maastricht University in Belgium, said that older people are wiser and more accepting of their situation than younger individuals.

"Both the 25 year–old and 65 year–old might agree that it is nicer to be 25 than to be 65. But the 65 year–old might nevertheless be more satisfied, as he has learned to be satisfied with what he has," he explained.

This follows research conducted at the University of California which found that happy people do not necessarily live longer as they are more likely to take risks with their health.

Scientists found that the most cheerful people and those with the best sense of humour during childhood were more likely to live shorter lives.

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