If you search for “Advantages of aging” on the internet, you will find many blogs with titles like “Ten Best Things About Growing Old” and “The Five Advantages of Aging.” Some are overly optimistic and pollyannaish, but others are underpinned with solid research and personal experience. You can find some of the best in the resources alongside. First, though, some interesting findings.  

Research from the National Institute of Aging at Stanford University’s Center on Longevity shows that a key reason seniors make better decisions is that we have a richer store of knowledge and experience. Older people are more likely to remember the most useful information and thus make better conclusions and decisions. Seniors are much more likely than young people to recognize when they have made a bad investment and walk away, rather than throwing good money after bad. People in their 60s are better than younger ones at imagining different points of view, thinking of multiple resolutions and suggesting compromises.

A University of Illinois study found that older air traffic controllers excelled at their cognitively taxing jobs despite some losses in short-term memory and visual spatial processing. How so? They were expert at navigating, juggling multiple aircraft simultaneously and avoiding collisions.

Cornell sociologist Karl Pillemer and co-workers interviewed 1,200 older people for the book 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans. “Many people said something along the lines of ‘I wish I’d learned to enjoy life on a daily basis and enjoy the moment when I was in my 30s instead of my 60s,’” he says. Older interviewees often describe the last five or ten years as the happiest years of their lives. “We have a seriously negative stereotype of the 60s and beyond,” says Pillemer, “and that stereotype is mostly incorrect.”

What do you consider to be the advantages of being older, and hopefully wiser?