The secrets to happiness in our old age


In a recent opinion poll, 69% of people said that the most important thing in life is having a loving partner and about 68% said that in general, they were happy with their lives.
Top of the list of ‘Happiness Factors’ is having their family close by, with 58% of those asked agreeing. After that comes the place where they live – 61%. However, 51% of those asked also said that having enough money was an important factor.
Brian Woodman, a retired warehouse worker from South London, wishes he had put more money away when he was younger. “When you’re young, getting old isn’t something you ever think about. I wish now that I had put more money away for my retirement, in a pension or something like that,” he said. “I used to go out and have a good time, you know, beer and girls and all that malarkey, so I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my life, but at the same time, living on just an old age pension isn’t all that easy.”
Mind you, life for Brian isn’t all doom and gloom. “The main thing for me, though, is having my daughter and her kids near at hand; they live on the same estate as me.” He added: “As long as I’ve got my family come to visit me, I’m happy enough.”
Sadly, 10% of people over 60 said they were unhappy with their lives. More than one in every ten of the over 60s claim to be unhappy, and 36% of people said that not having enough money was the main problem.
Money was the root of all evil, with 36% stating that lack of cash is one of the main causes of their unhappiness.
We spoke to pensioner Margaret Hall, 71, who lives in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire.
“I’m one of the lucky ones I guess. I’ve lived in this town since I was a girl. Things have changed a lot in some ways with all the traffic coming through, but all in all, it’s pretty much the same,” she said. Margaret, a former shopkeeper, continued; “You have to find happiness where you find it, but it doesn’t come knocking at your door. You need to keep active and mix with people – that’s the secret. I have lots of friends both old and new, but for those older people who don’t make the effort life can be pretty lonely.”
Her friend and neighbour Beryl Dawson, 68, agreed: “Having enough money and a nice place to live is important, but nothing beats having friends and family nearby. I don’t know what I’d do without my granddaughter, Zoe, popping round to check on me on her way back from school. Of course, money is important too, but how much do you need at our age?” she asked. “I have my pension and, fair enough, it’s not very much, but it’s enough for me to live on and I get by ok.”
So there we have it; so many of us spend our lives chasing ‘the dollar’, but at the end of the day, nothing beats having friends and family, a comfortable place live and enough money to get by.

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