Growing old is not easy. Your mental health is likely to suffer too just because you have to notice your body fall apart. Furthermore, you become excluded from the normal social life and it can be very painful. However, now scientists say that 85 year old women are actually happier than they were couple of decades ago. And the reason is quite shocking.
This was revealed in the results of a survey, conducted in England. Scientists found that woman’s happiness usually increase after she turns 85. Meanwhile, men of the same age just become less happy. Why is that? It is because men die at around that age. While 21 % of women of this age have strong mental health issues (compared to 16 % of men at the same age group), they find this time relaxing, because men are not around anymore.
Death, of course, is never a happy occurrence in our lives. And women really are not happy because their loved men die. However, as men disappear from their lives, they have less to worry about. Despite the changing social norms and roles, women are typically the ones taking care of the family. They usually take care of children and, let’s be honest, their husbands. That is why when children leave home to live on their own, women become just that little bit happier – they can relax more.
Other studies confirm that married women are in a higher risk to become depressed. However, their situation in a way is always improving. At first their parents die. This is stressful, but after the grieving period they can relax – there is less to take care of. Then children start their independent life and, finally, their husbands die too. It is just an easier part of life for them, even though their mental and physical health deteriorates.
Meanwhile men become less and less happy, because they associate their happiness to the ability to provide to their family and protect it. It allows them to feel strong. This feeling gets weaker and weaker over time and they start feeling less manly.
So it is about social gender roles. However, they are at least partially natural and it is good news that older women feel just that little bit happier at the end of their lives.
Source: Health Survey for England