Aging Well: Why Older May Be Better

Gallup-Healthways survey found older Americans scored higher on well-being

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Having the time of your life may be easier if you’re over 55. At least, that’s the finding from a recent Gallup-Healthways survey.

People who were older scored higher on multiple measures of well-being, according to the survey, and the oldest people scored the best.

"There are proven and effective interventions that combine social and physical activities to keep people healthy, active and productive as they age," Joy Powell, Market President at Healthways, said in a press release. "Our research shows that older Americans who are thriving in well-being exercise far more, have less depression and have lower rates of obesity and chronic illness."

Gallup is a nationwide polling organization that performs surveys on many different topics. Healthways is a global company that uses health behavior data to help improve health-care systems and individual health.

Gallup-Healthways conducted interviews with approximately 173,000 individuals in the 50 states. The survey data was collected through telephone interviews from January 2 to December 30, 2014.

More than 90,000 of the interviewees were 55 or older.

The report asked questions about many lifestyle factors. These included nutrition, exercise, social activities and relationships, access to health care and finances.

The data was then grouped into five main factors: sense of purpose, social life, financial situation, community and physical health.

Fifty-two percent of older Americans reported they were thriving financially, compared to 32 percent of those younger than 55. Older Americans were less likely to be depressed and less likely to smoke.

Eighty-one percent reported they got positive energy from family and friends. In comparison, only 76 percent of those under 55 reported getting a positive energy fix.

Older Americans are more likely to have insurance and access to health care than those under the age of 55.

Gallup-Healthways ranked the well-being of older adults in individual states as well. Hawaii led the list, with Montana, South Dakota, Alaska and Iowa also in the top five.

West Virginia ranked last out of all states. Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio and Indiana were also in the bottom five.

Review Date: 
July 15, 2015
Last Updated:
July 23, 2015