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06-Jun-2017

Some benefits of growing older


Growing Older opinion piece

BY RON BARNETT, SOUTHGREY.CA –

Many people are quick to think of growing older in a negative light. Although there certainly are some side effects of aging that one may wish to avoid, people may find that the benefits of growing older outweigh the negatives.

Seniors are a rapidly growing segment of the population. Statistics Canada reports that in July 2015 estimates indicated that, for the first time in the country's history, there were more people aged 65 years and older in Canada than there were children aged 0 to 14 years. Nearly one in six Canadians (16.1%) was at least 65 years old.

With so many people living longer, it's time to celebrate the perks of getting older rather than focus on the drawbacks. Here are some great benefits to growing old.

  • Self-esteem: the insecurities of youth give way as one ages and older people have less negativity and higher self-esteem. A University of Basel study of people ranging in ages from 18 to 89 found that regardless of demographic and social status, the older one gets the higher self-esteem climbs. Qualities like self-control and altruism can contribute to happiness.
  • Financial perks: Seniors are entitled to discounts on meals, museum entry fees, movies and other entertainment if they're willing to disclose their ages. Discounts are available through an array of venues if one chooses to speak up. Seniors also can enjoy travel perks, with slashed prices on resorts, plane tickets and more.
  • Reasoning and problem-solving skills: Brain scans reveal that older adults are more likely to use both hemispheres of their brains simultaneously - something called bilateralization. This can sharpen reasoning skills. For example, in a University of Illinois study, older air traffic controllers excelled at their cognitively taxing jobs, despite some losses in short-term memory and visual spatial processing. Older controllers proved to be experts at navigating, juggling multiple aircrafts simultaneously and avoiding collisions.
  • Less stress: As people grow older, they are able to differentiate their needs from wants and focus on more important goals. This can alleviate worry over things that are beyond one's control. Seniors may realize how little the opinions of others truly matter, thereby feeling less stressed about what others think of them.

Growing older may involve gray hair or wrinkling skin, but there are many positive things associated with aging.

 


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