by Matilda Charles
Sometimes the results of research and studies are suspect if we do not trust the sources, but National Geographic and AARP recently published a joint study on the realities of the second half of life, and it doesn’t get any better than that.
Their study covered the big topics as we age: health, relationships, financial security, housing, independent living, end of life, retirement, and more.
Here are some highlights:
We care most about our brain health, our independence, and our relationships, in that order, as we move into our 70s. By the time we reach our 80s, it’s relationships that spike to the top of our list of concerns.
Guess what plunges by the time we reach our 70s? Work, and it’s no surprise. We’ve been there and done that, and the idea of climbing the ladder of success at work no longer appeals to us.
Health is a curious category, but it makes sense once you think about it. It seems that those who are the healthiest are the ones who are most concerned about their health, likely because they’d like to stay that way and remain active. They’re into walking and exercising and taking flu shots, whereas the ones who have a serious medical condition are less concerned, perhaps having accepted the reality of less-than-stellar health.
Age plays a part in that: We’re most concerned about health in our 60s, much less concerned in our 70s, and very concerned again in our 80s, mostly about stamina, strength, and flexibility. There’s something to be said for picking a form of exercise and sticking with it, especially if it helps with those three concerns.
At the end of the day, the older we get, the more we care about meaningful relationships. As AARP noted, “Friends, family, and community are the hallmarks of finding happiness.”
To review the whole study, see www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2022/second-half-life-desires-concerns