Saturday, August 9, 2014

Happiness: Older Adults vs. Adolescents (Research, "Happy" Song Video 2:11)

Lots of negative stereotypes exist about older adults. No doubt, these stereotypes are major reasons many people don't look forward to becoming older adults and don't embrace aging well when they do. But what is the reality? If happiness could be defined as a positive state of emotional well-being, would adolescents be happier than older adults? What do you think?

An emotional well-being study was done involving two national surveys with participants including 1,403 community-dwelling older adults and 1,190 high school students. Emotional well-being was measured using the World Health Organization-Five Well-Being Index. This index includes participants’ ratings ranging from “all the time” to “at no time” for statements such as these:

1)    I have felt cheerful and in good spirits.
2)    I have felt calm and relaxed.
3)    I have felt active and vigorous.
4)    I woke up feeling fresh and rested.
5)    My daily life has been filled with things that interest me.

What were the research results? Older adults scored significantly higher levels of emotional well-being than the high school students. Did this surprise you? Have you already noticed this in your own observations of people or your own personal life? Do you have fewer intense negative emotions and more positive emotions as you age?

Sometimes happy experiences come when we least expect them. This video, which was inspired by Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song, was shot at Meadowbrook Senior Living in Agoura Hills, California. Staff members and young folks joined in the fun, too!

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.


  1. Many thanks!! I know WE are happier. As you get older, you have learned (hopefully) to roll with the punches.

  2. I agree. My happiness quotient has been on the increase since retirement, and I am happier than I was in my adolescent days.

  3. That video is amazing. Thank you for sharing! We truly can be happy at any stage in our life. And those people in the nursing home really prove that! I loved it!

    Dean Reese |