Happiness peaks in older age - Britons in their prime at 70

Tuesday, 04 April 2017 GramdMaker MyraMillions of Britons aged 70 plus are experiencing the happiest phase of their life according to new research from Royal Voluntary Service.

The study, released to launch GrandFest 2017, a one-day festival celebrating older people and their skills, found 63 per cent of over 70s are happier now than they have ever been. Furthermore over half (52 per cent) believe they are still in the prime of their life.

Get tickets to GrandFest

Growing a bit long in the tooth comes with many perks. Two thirds say the best thing about getting older is having more time to do what they want. Other benefits include worrying less about things that aren’t important (52 per cent), no longer caring what people think (37 per cent) and being able to speak their mind (27 per cent).

According to the over 70s, action and attitude have an equal impact on their wellbeing. Sharing their top 10 secrets to a happy and healthy older age, 89 per cent said keeping their brain active was a priority while 75 per cent cited having a positive outlook on life. Regular exercise (61 per cent) and laughter (66 per cent) were also recognised as important components. And whilst not making the top 10, almost one quarter (24 per cent) also said intimate relations were a key ingredient to staying happy and healthy in later life.

Previous research by the charity also revealed the importance of continuing to maintain hobbies into later life. Sixty nine per cent of over 70 year olds practice at least two hobbies on a regular basis claiming this contributes significantly to their health and wellbeing.

"It’s heartening to find out so many people say life gets better as you age. Those flourishing in older age are the ones keeping active and engaged and continuing to enjoy their hobbies. Older people can teach us a lot – not just about how to age well but also by passing on their skills. GrandFest, now in its third year, is the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill or hobby from the original makers."

David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service

"Depending, of course, on reasonably good health, I think the secret of a fulfilled and contented later life is to keep the mind open; take an interest in local, national and international affairs; exercise in moderation; enjoy the company and friendship of younger people and hold fast to your sense of humour!"

Actress and Royal Voluntary Service ambassador, Dame Patricia Routledge DBE, age 88

"My secret to a happy and healthy older age is to keep working as long as you want to, my work is my passion, eat well (you can never go wrong with a salad!), never forget that a little jog and wonderful stretch is all you need daily, bring music into your life, but above all, dance dance dance."

Arlene Phillips CBE, age 73

"Most people as they reach old age think it's about winding down, but that's far from the truth for me. Life is an adventure and we need to squeeze every last drop out of it. I like to set myself a number of challenges every year - this is what keeps me young. Life is exciting, be ambitious and set goals. If you want to be an explorer and climb Mount Everest, don't let anyone stop you."

Brian Blessed OBE
Determined to stay active, over 60s are also snapping up opportunities to fill their time and learn new skills. In fact, 35 per cent are planning a big travel trip, a third (32 per cent) are planning to or currently learning a new skill, such as gardening, cooking, knitting and DIY and 29 per cent are volunteering. A new romance is being sought by seven per cent whilst more than one in 20 (seven per cent) are using their golden years to learn how to drive.

GrandFest, taking place in London on 18 June, is a one day festival created for the older generation to share craft skills such as knitting, crochet, wood turning and bread making through a series of Masterclasses. Taking over museums, shops, cafés and bars in and around East London each masterclass will be led by a talented original GrandMaker, aged 70 or over.

The event is being supported by McCarthy & Stone, the UK’s leading retirement housebuilder who will host a series of GrandFest related celebrations at its developments across the country.

"Older people have so many traditional skills to share. Skills that we as a nation, do not want to lose. And that’s what GrandFest is all about. It’s a free, fun event to celebrate talented older people and the heritage skills they can pass down through the generations. For those not able to make the events in London, we will be hosting a series of mini GrandFest celebrations at developments across the country.."

Clive Fenton, Chief Executive Officer for McCarthy & Stone

The top 10 secrets to a happy and healthy older age, as cited by the over 70s polled:

No Tip Percent
1 Keeping my brain active 89
2 Having a positive outlook on life 75
3 Getting out and about 75
4 Seeing friends and family 70
5 Fresh air 70
6 Having a healthy diet 68
7 Financial stability 67
8 Laughter 66
9 Regular exercise 61
10 Love and support from friends and family 53

Image: GrandMaker Myra will be hosting the Jewellery Making Masterclass at GrandFest

Get tickets to GrandFest

For further information

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering charities in Britain powered by more than 35,000 volunteers who regularly provide practical help to over 100,000 older people in their homes, communities and in hospitals.

To become a local volunteer search for volunteering opportunities in your area. Or help make a difference by making a secure online donation.

If you are a member of the press and have a media enquiry please contact the Media Team. For all other enquiries, contact us.

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