Several prestigious universities have performed a research study that has now linked the sense of well-bing and purpose to result in a longer lifespan. While testing in the past has proven benefits of those who have a positive outlook on life at advanced ages, now researchers can definitively say that there is a link between improved physical function and that of subliminal positive messaging. The study included over nine thousand individuals. Each with an age of 65 or older. Each individual was then divided into a group that labeled them as having a higher or lower level of well-being. After the subject group was created the researches then looked at the group approximately 8 years later to determine their overall health and physical function.
To determine which well-being group each individual belonged the researchers used questionnaires and then put the individuals into a broad set along with those that relatively matched on the same criteria. Ultimately the groups were made into 4 large subsets of individuals ranking their overall well-being. Each group had to be adjusted for other influencing factors from current physical health, sex, lifestyle habits, along with many others. Each member was measured on three different groups or types of well being. One of these being “eudemonic well-being,” which is the sense of value one adds to society and life around them. Another of these is “hedonic well-being” which is a sense of ambiguous happiness or ambiguous negative feelings and thoughts. The final one they measured was “evaluative well-being” which is the level of satisfaction one has with what they have in life. The findings were actually quite astonishing to the researchers showing that those with a higher sense of well-being lived an average of two whole years longer than those that suffered from a lower level of purpose and well being. The final statistics showed that after the 8 years out of those with the lower level of well-being 29 percent of them had already died while in the group of those with the higher level of purpose and well-being had only 9 percent of their group die.
The statistics of the percentage of people who have high levels of life satisfaction and well-being is quite different among cultures and countries. Those in English speaking countries tend to have the highest level of sense of well-being in their later years compared to most other countries. Those in Russia tend to have some of the lowest levels of a sense of well-being in their advanced years. Something to study next would be why each culture or country may have these differences and how we may learn from some cultures to help improve the sense of well-being of those who live in a country and culture where many individuals of advanced age aren’t happy or satisfied with their life. One of the simple answers to this is about involvement in the world around you. Those with advanced age that stay more involved with friend groups, social circles, or activities generally have a much higher level of well-being compared to those that are isolated. Here in the United States many people of advanced age have both the wealth and access to the infrastructure to make that happen. Hopefully these studies will lead to government involvement in helping to provide the resources in other countries to those who are of advanced age. In the long run it may actually reduce the cost burden of taking care of the sick geriatric population if they are kept in better mental health and stimulated socially.