Life satisfaction amongst the elderly

Life satisfaction amongst the elderly is still rated highly despite growing discomfort: 85 year-olds assess their lives with an average of 8 out of 10. This is comparable to that of young people. Results of the the Leiden 85+Plus Study indicate that elderly people in the Netherlands who are ill are just as satisfied with their lives as those who are healthy. The difference between both groups completely vanishes when applied to mental health. The study reveals that those suffering from illness change their values about different things and adjust their expectations.

Thomas Puvill attempts to gain insight into how life satisfaction at old age is associated with age-related factors such as declining (physical) health and loss of social contacts. Life satisfaction can differ between cultures; findings from Dutch elders cannot be generalised against other nationalities. On the basis of data from similar international studies, a larger European population research for under 55+plussers will be conducted to find whether there is a connection between mental health, staying active and family.

By conducting this research, Leyden Academy policy makers want to show medical professionals and the general public, that life at old age still has opportunities, and will provide insight into how the well-being of the elderly can be stimulated.

Thomas will defend his PhD dissertation ‘Maintaining life satisfaction at old age in the face of physical decline’ on Tuesday 6 June 2017 at the Academiegebouw in Leiden, The Netherlands. Please click here for more details.