Science seeks answers. A couple of possibilities:
[S]tudies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods — for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and hew their goals toward greater wellbeing…
A history, from Scientific American:
[Season’s of a Man’s Life author] Levinson felt that midlife crises were actually more common than not and appeared like clockwork between the ages of 40 to 45. For Levinson, such crises were characterized primarily by a stark, painful “de-illusionment” process stemming from the individual’s unavoidable comparison between his youthful dreams and his sobering present reality. For most men, life moves so swiftly that, by the time you look back at what’s happened, you realize you’ve already suffered an irreparable loss of chance and opportunity. This life review causes depression, anxiety, and “manic flight,” a sort of desperate, now-or-never fumbling to experience the pleasures one has long denied oneself and an escape from stagnation.
Good news relayed by PsychCentral: Emotional Stability, Happiness Increase with Age
“As people get older, they’re more aware of mortality,” Carstensen said. “So when they see or experience moments of wonderful things, that often comes with the realization that life is fragile and will come to an end. But that’s a good thing. It’s a signal of strong emotional health and balance.”
NYT: Family Relations: An International Comparison
It’s not just you. Compared with elderly parents and adult children in five other industrialized nations, Americans are twice as likely to have “disharmonious” relationships, a new multinational study has found. And we’re correspondingly less likely to have “amicable” relationships marked by strong affection and relatively free of conflict.
NYT on Ringo, Robert Butler, and ageism: Turn 70. Act Your Grandchild’s Age.
“We’re going to make it look like if you’re sick, it’s your own fault; if you’re not having orgasms or running marathons, there’s something wrong with you. We need to think carefully about how to take care of people who are frail. We need to allow people to not feel like failures when they can’t do the things they used to do.”
ScienceDaily: Age doesn’t necessarily affect decision-making, study shows
Many people believe that getting older means losing a mental edge, leading to poor decision-making. But a new study from North Carolina State University shows that when it comes to making intuitive decisions — using your “gut instincts” — older adults fare as well as their juniors.
ScienceDaily sums it up in a headline: Older Adults Watch More TV Than Younger People, Enjoy It Less.
Data from other studies indicate that the average American household spends 4.5 hours watching TV per day and, in those over age 65, about 25% percent of their time is spent watching TV.
Long for this World, by Jonathan Weiner, looks at the possibility of science conquering disease and people living much longer lives.
[One scientist] predicts that when life expectancy reaches multiple centuries, humans may become extraordinarily risk-averse, unwilling to ride in a car or ski because they’ll have too much time ahead, too much to lose.
At PsychCentral: Relationships Grow, Improve with Age.
“Older adults report better marriages, more supportive friendships and less conflict with children and siblings.”
So…time to start aging.
Used to be there was no way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease during a patient’s lifetime. Now, maybe, change.
A PET scan showed amyloid exactly where it would be expected. The Swedish doctors were convinced they were seeing actual plaque. They told Dr. Mathis it was time to celebrate.