What’s the Secret to a Happy Life? It’s Not What You Think

When you’re in your 20s and just starting out, money and fame may seem the key to a happy life. But as you age, that viewpoint changes considerably. The real secret, according to a Harvard study that’s been going on since the 1930s, has nothing to do with your bank account or your career. “The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period,” the study’s current director, Robert Waldinger, …

The Skyrocketing of the Age 85+: AARP Data Explorer Provides Long-Term Services and Supports Data for Policy Solutions

From 2010 to 2060, the age 85-plus population will more than triple (+260%), the fastest growth of any age group over that time period. This demographic phenomenon will have a significant impact on every aspect of our society, ranging from our health care system to the economy. People age 85-plus are the group most likely to need long-term services and supports to help them with everyday tasks. They not only have higher rates of disability than younger people, but they …

Sex Helps Boost Brainpower

Love might be good for the heart, but it turns out that sex is good for the brain, especially as we age. And, in fact, a healthy sex life seems to benefit men’s and women’s brain’s differently, a new study finds. Researchers at Coventry University in England studied 6,800 men and women 50 and older and found that those who were sexually active scored higher on cognitive tests than those who were not. (Sexual activity included intercourse, masturbation, petting or …

Uniform Definitions and Data Elements for Collecting Information About Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is an important public health problem that has negative consequences on the health and well-being of older adults and contributes to avoidable health spending. Studies have found that elder abuse leads to increased use of emergency room and in-patient hospital care, and estimates are that annual costs associated with such abuse are over $5.3 billion. The U.S. Administration on Aging defines elder abuse as any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that …

Taking a Closer Look at Aging American Indians and Alaska Natives

I grew up next to the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington state and I remember how native elders were revered throughout the community.  At the annual powwow the elders shared their history through song and dance, and all generations sat together, joining in the chanting and drumming. Those memories rushed back this week, as AARP’s Public Policy Institute released its most recent report, “Lifelong Disparities among Older American Indians and Alaska Natives.” AARP, along with researchers from Western Carolina University …

At AARP, We’re Passionate About Caregiving

Early this year, I lost my dear mother, Hattie Kane, a modest but blessed and beloved wife and mother. She died of a lengthy illness at the age of 93 after I’d cared for her for eight years, five of them in my home. Largely because of this experience, helping others with their caregiving journey has become a new passion of mine. At AARP, we say that if you’re not currently a caregiver, you’re likely to be one in the …