The Good Side to Getting Older

You can feel blue about getting older, but that won't change the fact that we all do it. And while there may be some things about aging that are less than lovable, it turns out that hitting those milestone birthdays often means there are plenty of positives to celebrate.

If you're feeling blue because you're not 18 any longer, take heart in this list of reasons why getting older really means getting better:

Happiness and emotional stability

The upheavals of youth, who needs them? Older people tend to be more content and happier with their lot in life, a Stanford University study found. For 12 years, researchers tracked about 180 people of all ages, from 18 to 94. What they found was that in contrast to the younger folks, the older participants tended to be more positive and reported having more good days than bad.

They theorized that while much of life was uncertain for young people-careers, relationships, financial stability-older people had made peace with themselves and were determined to make the best of the time they had left.

Better sex

You may not see as much action as you did when you were young, but chances are you're more satisfied with it. A recent AP/ poll revealed that only 17 percent of people age 66 and older are unhappy with their bedroom lives compared with 24 percent of middle-aged folks. Research reveals that many people continue to feel desire well into old age and will indulge regularly if given the chance. Not having to worry about pregnancy is an added benefit.

Financial stability

On average, people age 60 and older are in better shape financially than their younger colleagues, especially if they keep working. Older people can finally collect social security and pension money, and there are many discounts and benefits available to the senior set such as inexpensive movie tickets, hotel-room breaks, and dinner specials. Since most older people no longer have young children to support, they're able to put aside more of their income than they did in their younger days.

Brain development

While it's true that the aging brain often works less efficiently, the news is not all bad. Scientists have found that the brains of older people, if they're in good shape, can spot patterns faster than younger brains.

They've also discovered that the brains of older people are more open to complex thought and a greater understanding of concepts. The key is to maintain the brain's connections and build more of them by getting out of your comfort zone and "stretch" your brain muscles.

The New York Times,
National Sexuality Resource Center,,
Stanford University,
National Academy on an Aging Society,