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Older people 'happiest age group'

Older people 'happiest age group'
3rd February 2016

New figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have shown that older people are much happier than their younger counterparts, the BBC reports.

The analysis found that adults between the ages of 65 and 79 in the UK measured consistently high in areas such as life satisfaction, happiness and feeling life was worthwhile. 

In contrast, people aged between 45 and 49 measured the lowest scores in life satisfaction, while this demographic also recorded the highest levels of anxiety.

The researchers identified a possible reason for this gulf between people in these two age brackets, saying it could be the pressure of having to care for children and elderly parents at the same time that is putting people in their mid-to-late 40s under such strain.

In contrast, those who are younger or have retired have more spare time to spend doing activities they enjoy and improve their wellbeing. 

The figures from the ONS are based on surveys where people were asked to give a score out of ten to measure how happy they were, how anxious they felt on a daily basis, and how satisfied they were with their life and whether they thought it was worthwhile.

Results have been broken down by age, ethnicity, religion, marital status, employment status, and whereabouts in the UK a person lives.

However, the researchers also identified a clear link between health and wellbeing, suggesting that efforts to improve physical health - like occupational and physical therapy - could significantly help people as they age.

They also cited factors such as loneliness and poor health as reasons why levels of happiness fell as people aged, highlighting the importance of care for the elderly and inclusion activities.

These findings could help policymakers better target issues that can improve the lives of people as they age, which will become a more prevalent issue over the next few years as the number of elderly people grows.

"We know that the UK population is ageing. There were more than half a million people aged 90 and over living in the UK in 2014 - almost triple the number 30 years ago," the study said.

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