A golden early old age is within sight for many people, says new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which demonstrates that the good life is much less influenced by your past – the job your father had, for instance – than by the present, when two of the most important influences are having choices about working or not working, and having friends in whom you can confide.
"Good quality of life in early old age is a realistic ambition for all", says the research team, headed by Dr David Blane at Imperial College of Science Technology Medicine, London, "to the extent that it is possible to free the present from past influences". Early old age, sometimes called the Third Age, between 55 and 75 years old, is the phase of life between leaving the labour market and the onset of physical dependency.
The study on what influences quality of life draws on data from childhood, which was collected between 1937 and 1939, data on their adulthood and cross-sectional data on their early old age, followed by a survey of 282 people in different areas of Britain. This included a measure of quality of life in early old age developed as part of the study.
Iain Stewart | EurekAlert!
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