What Makes the Golden Years Great?

Health, Wealth, and Meaning Drive Quality of Life After Age 60

From the WebMD Archives

May 31, 2007 -- The keys to a high-quality life after age 60 are health, money, and having a meaningful life, a Canadian study shows.

That doesn't mean you have to be in stellar shape, have oodles of money in the bank, or master the meaning of life to be happy in your golden years. But it may be food for thought in shaping your life, no matter how many candles are on your birthday cake this year.

The study, published recently in Research in Nursing & Health, comes from researchers including Gail Low, PhD, of the faculty of nursing at Canada's University of Alberta.

They interviewed more than 400 adults aged 60 and older living in British Columbia, Canada.

Most participants were 60-80 years old, had a college education, were currently or previously married, lived in their own home, and said they didn't need help with their daily activities.

Quality of Life Quiz

Participants rated their own health and quality of life. They also answered questions including:

  • To what extent do you find your life to be meaningful?
  • Do you have enough money to meet your needs?
  • How satisfied are you with your ability to perform your activities of daily living?
  • How satisfied are you with your opportunities for physical contact and closeness?
  • How satisfied are you with the level of intimacy in your life?
  • How healthy is your physical environment?
  • How satisfied are you with the conditions of your living space?

Based on the interviews, the researchers concluded that health, finances, and meaning directly affected participants' quality of life.

Emotional support and purpose in life also mattered. Those factors helped people find meaning in their lives.

It's not clear if the findings apply to other groups of people in their 60s or older. But the findings echo the researchers' results from a previous, smaller study.

  • Is enough money, good health, and meaning in life all you need to be happy in your golden years? WebMD community members are talking about what makes them happy.
WebMD Health News Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on May 31, 2007


SOURCES: Low, G. Research in Nursing & Health, April 2007; vol 30: pp 141-150. News release, University of Alberta.

© 2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

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