Wisdom Happens
Age-related Mental Health Issues

Wisdom aside, aging populations also experience negative changes in mental health. Dementia -- or a range of symptoms affecting memory and cognitive function -- can be an increasing problem in addition to the risk of developing depression or anxiety disorders [source: American Psychological Association].

Although aging can be stressful, many people consider themselves happier and more sentimental later in life after they retire and have fewer responsibilities. Whether it's moving out of a cumbersome house or witnessing children or grandchildren transition into the "real world," seniors are generally more relaxed than their younger counterparts.

In addition, research validates the idea that wisdom increases with age. One study suggests that older people possess a greater theory of mind, or the ability to gauge the intentions of others, than younger people despite proficiency at physical tasks worsening [source: Happé et al.]. Another analysis places wisdom high on the list of factors that enrich an aging person's relationships and outlook on life [source: Ardelt].

While life's hardships and lessons seem hard to accept, the ability to learn from and endure them help shape one's attitude later in life -- a surprising fact to those who expect their older years will be worse than their younger ones.

Check out the next page for more resources on age-related issues.