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Senior Trust
Published By Beth Lueders on May 31, 2016

Some stereotypes seem to wedge in people’s minds, like how older people tend to be cynical and suspicious. However, two human development studies, released in 2015 as one online journal report, explain a different outcome: trust increases as people age, and the stronger the trust, the more seniors experience greater happiness over time.

The research paper’s co-author Claudia Haase, an assistant professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern University, notes, “For millennials, generation X and baby boomers alike, levels of trust increase as people get older. People really seem to be ‘growing to trust’ as they travel through their adult years.”

The researchers’ first study observed the correlation of age and trust during a 26-year period by following 197,888 individuals in 83 countries. The participants were ages 14-99. The first study concluded that older people had higher levels of interpersonal trust than younger people. The second study examined aging and trust among 1,230 Americans over four years. The second study also found stronger confidence in others as people approach later life.

The studies account for a simple difference in being born during certain decades when life seemed less complicated and society seemed more trustworthy. One explanation for the rise in trust with age is that older adults share more time and motivation to give back and have learned to overlook the everyday irritants and forgive others’ shortcomings more freely. With an accumulation of losses and successes over the years, the elderly are more seasoned about focusing on trust in relationships and acceptance of overcoming life’s trials.

Although being too trusting can result in falling for scams and fraudulent schemes, the studies concluded that the trust of most seniors is not weakened by these negative circumstances. As Right at Home continues to find with older care clients across the world, appropriate trust does improve one’s happiness, quality of life and outlook on the days and years still ahead.

How are you seeing trust increase contentment and well-being among the seniors you know?

An award-winning journalist who has documented stories in nearly 20 countries, Beth Lueders is an author, writer and speaker who frequently reports on diverse topics, including aging and health issues for both U.S. and international corporations.


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