Rise in wellbeing in late 60s- new study finds

The wellbeing of people in their 60s increases as they reach the age of 70, according to a national survey.

The wellbeing of people in their 60s increases as they reach the age of 70, according to a national survey.Participants were asked to rate how confident, cheerful, relaxed and useful they felt in their early 60s and then again aged 68 to 69.

The Medical Research Council survey has tracked the health and wellbeing of 1,700 people since their birth.

When the responses of those aged 60 to 64 were compared to their feelings towards the end of their seventh decade, the survey found there was an overall average improvement in all aspects of wellbeing.

This mirrors the results of previous studies which found that people in their 60s and 70s were more content than those in their 50s.

And a recent large survey of UK adults found those aged 65 to 79 to be the happiest age group. Those aged 45 to 59 reported the lowest levels of life satisfaction.

Research shows the better you fit into the personality of your area, the happier you are.

Dr Mai Stafford, the programme leader at the MRC’s unit for lifelong health and ageing at University College London, said it was not yet clear what was behind the rise in wellbeing during people’s 60s.

“We found that one in five experienced a substantial increase in wellbeing in later life, although we also found a smaller group who experienced a substantial decline,” she said.

“The benefit of using a cohort study like this is that we can look at how individuals change over time. We hope this will allow us to pinpoint which common experiences may be linked to an improvement in wellbeing in later life.”

In their 60s and 70s, people are more likely to prioritise social relationships and look after their mental health, she explained.

“By that time you’ve worked out what makes you feel better and what doesn’t.

Although people are living longer, poor health in old age is still a concern. Most survey participants reported having at least one common chronic disease such as arthritis, diabetes or hypertension.

Five tests if you are getting old

Try these simple exercise tests to gauge whether your body has aged beyond your years.

Try these simple exercise tests to gauge whether your body has aged beyond your years.A recent study, published in the Journal of Aging and Health, has linked those of a higher intelligence with the capacity to physically age better.

Researcher Rikke Hodal Meincke tested almost 3,000 middle aged men, using simple mobility tests to gauge their physical aptitude, strength and co-ordination. From the results, Meincke believed that she could correctly identify which individuals were more likely to remain independent as they aged.

The tests themselves included rudimentary exercises of balance and speed, the majority of which can easily be completed using household items such as dining chairs – and assessed using just your wristwatch and a measuring tape.

Below are five of the simplest exercises for you to try at home:

1. The Sitting-Rising Test

What are you testing? This simple test, originally published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention, is an uncannily accurate predictor of mortality risk. Participants of the original study were found to die at similar ages to the other individuals with their scores – suggesting that the sitting-rising test is a solid determiner of all-cause mortality.

How do you do it? For this test, you will need someone to observe you completing the simple task of standing up from a position sitting cross-legged on the ground, and then sitting back down again. Begin in a sitting position, and try to stand up with the least amount of support that you believe necessary – do not worry about your speed.

Ask your observer to score your ability to rise out of five, and then subsequently sit back down again out of five. For each time you have to use support from your hand, knee or another part of your body, the observer should subtract a point. A total composite score out of ten will be assigned and this will determine which category or group you belong to.

How did you fare?
Poor = 0 – 3
Fair = 3.5 – 5.5
Good = 6 – 7.5
Excellent = 8 – 10

2. The Timed Up and Go Test

What are you testing? This test is used to assess a person’s mobility, and requires the use of both static and dynamic balance. Commonly implemented to test how prone an individual may be to falls, the exercise is nonetheless a good overall indicator of balance.

How do you do it? Wearing normal footwear, you should rise from a seated position on a chair, walk 3 metres (or 10 feet) straight forwards, then return to the chair and sit back down. This should be timed, and from your results you can easily gauge the level of your physical mobility.

How did you fare?
Poor = 10+ seconds
Fair = 8 – 10 seconds
Good = 6 – 7 seconds
Excellent = 4 – 6 seconds

3. The Standing Balance Test

What are you testing? This simple test is proven to be a better indicator of mortality in men than in women. The standing balance test measures your physical capability to balance, bear weight, and the amount of pressure that may be comfortably exerted on your joints.

How do you do it? With eyes closed, you must stand straight and then bend one leg at the knee, so you are standing on one leg with your arms at your sides. Stand in this position for as long as possible, and have an observer time you until you reach 30 seconds.

How did you fare?
Poor = 0 – 7 seconds
Fair = 8 – 20 seconds
Good = 21 – 30 seconds
Excellent = 30+ seconds

4. The Repeated-Rising Test

What are you testing? Similar to the sitting-rising test, but completed using a chair and a repetitive motion, the repeated-rising test is used to gauge both an individual’s aptitude for mobility and their current cardiovascular condition.

How do you do it? Begin the test by sitting in a chair, and then time how long it takes you to stand up out of the chair into straight posture and then sit back down ten times. Divide the number of rises (that is, ten) by the time taken to complete the activity (in minutes, so 15 seconds would be 0.25) for your score.

How did you fare?
Poor = 0 – 10
Fair = 11 – 20
Good = 21 – 35
Excellent = 36+

5. The Gait Speed Test

What are you testing? Gait requires input from the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscular power and joint and cardiovascular health. Because all of these systems are required to coordinate gait, your comfortable gait speed is an indicator of the health of many physiological systems.

How do you do it? Measure out a five metre distance – this will be the timed section. Begin walking a little before this section and end a little after it to ensure a comfortable average gait is being measured. Have someone time you as you walk through the timed section. Repeat this three times and calculated an average time. Dividing this average by five will give you your gait speed.

How did you fare?
Poor = 0 – 0.5
Fair = 0.5 – 1
Good = 1 – 1.5
Excellent = 1.5+

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/11807035/Five-ways-to-tell-if-youre-getting-old.html