People are happier as they age

Piet Liebenberg
PEOPLE seem to become happier as they age, in especially South Africa and Brazil.
Researchers say that with the right policies in place, a developing country can significantly improve the wellbeing of its older citizens.
The average levels of wellbeing experienced by older people in South Africa and Brazil improved between 2002 and 2008, due to a combination of economic growth and enlightened social policies, according to a study from the New Dynamics of Ageing Programme. “Our work contradicts many of the assumptions people have about the fate of older people in developing countries,” said Professor Armando Barrientos, research director at Manchester University’s Brooks World Poverty Institute.
“It is often assumed that people will become poorer and increasingly unhappy with life as they become old, but in South Africa and Brazil the opposite seems to have happened,” he said.
The research explored the factors that influence wellbeing among the elderly populations. Brazil and South Africa were chosen because of their far-reaching social policies. “They are leading countries in their respective regions, with innovative social policies addressing poverty and vulnerability,” explained Barrientos.
Their findings suggest that the majority of older people in the two countries felt satisfied or very satisfied with their lives.

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