senior woman leading seminar
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Lots of Know-How

They’re called the golden years for a reason. Getting older has its perks. For one, you’re good at using what you’ve learned. This is called crystalized intelligence, and it keeps getting better, even when you’re 65 or 70.

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man smiling after car mishap
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Mr. Nice Guy

Turns out you might not be a grumpy old man (or woman), after all. You’ll probably get more agreeable as you age, at least through your 60s. You’re also likely to be happier and less inclined to get angry. Scientists haven’t figured out exactly why this happens, but they do have some theories. Older people might control their emotions better, and focus more on how to make the most of life.

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family having pillow fight
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Play Well With Others

You’re more in tune with other people’s emotions in your 40s than at any other time in your life.  That insight into how others think and feel can make living with your loved ones easier and help you get along better with your coworkers, too.

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senior couple relaxing outdoors
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Better Sex

Older women may have sex less often than when they were younger, but apparently they make it count. In a study of women 40 and over, researchers found that sexual satisfaction improved with age. Women over 80 were more likely than those between 55 and 79 to say they were satisfied during sex.

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mother and daughter cooking
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A Taste for Life

As you age, medications, illness (colds, flu, gum diseases, etc.) and allergies all can change your sense of smell and taste. And that can affect your diet and health. If you find things need to be spiced up, try some olive oil, herbs like rosemary and thyme, garlic, onion, peppers, or mustard. Just stay away from the salt.

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senior woman plucking hairs
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What's That Doing There?

Around the time the hair on your head starts to disappear, it can show up in the strangest places. This can mean large hairs in older guys' noses and ears. Older women may notice small hairs on their chins. This is all caused by changes in our hormones.

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senior woman drinking coffee
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Rise And Shine

There’s a good chance you’ll become the morning person you’ve always wanted to be -- in your 60s. Our sleeping patterns can shift as we age, so we get sleepier earlier and wake up earlier. That seems to work out well. One study showed that even though folks over 65 tend to wake up during the night, most said they regularly get a good night’s sleep.

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woman reading book
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Bye-Bye Migraines

Once you hit your 70s, those migraines you may have had much of your life may go away. Only 10% of women and 5% of men over 70 still report migraines. Even better news: Even if you have a migraine, it may not actually come with the headache. As we age they’re more like to show up as visual or sensory disturbances instead.

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senior architect at drafting table
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Don't Quit Your Day Job

Early retirement might not be the best thing for your health -- unless you have a fun second career. A study called the Longevity Project found that people who work hard at a job they enjoy live the longest. That, along with good friends and a good marriage, could be the key to sticking around a while.

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senior hand on railing
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Fear Is Not Your Friend

You may worry more about breaking bones as you age. But you’re more likely to take a tumble if you’re scared of falling. One study found that about a third of adults over 65 have that fear. And it’s understandable, because falls are the leading cause of injuries for older people.

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man looking at map
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Self-Confidence

Self-esteem soars as you age, studies show, and increases with wealth, education, good health, and employment. But it takes a dip after 60. That may be because people begin to have health issues and start searching for a new sense of purpose following retirement. With increasing life spans, healthier lifestyles, and working to an older age, we may see that change.

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father and son in front of rv
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Less Stress

Baby boomers and older adults report less stress than their younger counterparts, according to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America report. That doesn’t mean, it goes away. Health and money problems still crop up. But, the APA says, 9 of 10 older adults say they’re doing enough to manage it.

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doctor measuring senior height
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Weight of the World

The longer you’re alive, the more gravity brings you down. The spaces between the bones in your spine -- called vertebrae -- get closer together. That can make you about an inch shorter as you get older.

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seniors standing in line
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Strength in Numbers

The graying of America may be a good thing for you. Those 60 and over tend to cast ballots more than any other age group. And they’re the fastest-growing block of voters in the U.S. these days. That means more voting power on topics that matter as you age such as Medicare, Social Security, and health care

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 06/09/2016 Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on June 09, 2016

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1) Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

2) Sam Edwards / Getty Images

3) altrendo images / Thinkstock

4) FlairImages / Thinkstock

5) Cathy Yeulet / Thinkstock

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7) Keith Brofsky / Thinkstock

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9) michaeljung / Thinkstock

SOURCES:

American Journal of Medicine: “Sexual Activity and Satisfaction in Healthy Community-dwelling Older Women.”

American Psychological Association: “Personality changes for the better with age,” “The real secrets to a longer life.”

Harvard Gazette: “Smarter by the minute, sort of.”

Johns Hopkins Medical Library: “Introduction to Menopause.”

KidsHealth.org: “Why Do People Shrink?”

National Sleep Foundation: “Insomnia & Older Adults.”

Oregon Technology in Education Council: “Theories of Intelligence.”

Scientific American: “How do hairs like those on the chest or in the nose know to grow when you trim them?”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Physiological changes in scalp, facial and body hair after menopause: a cross-sectional population-based study of subjective changes.”

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on June 09, 2016

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.