With the possible exception of newborns, I can't think of an age group that hasn't suffered terribly during the pandemic. Certainly, school-age and college-age children have had their worlds turned upside down; many are struggling with mental health issues from social isolation and screen-learning difficulties. Young adults may have lost a year of finding a career and an independent lifestyle. Older adult children may have had their careers curtailed, their job safety undone, their incomes lost.
Our generation is at the further end of the generational arc. Many of us are retirees or older parents who may still be working but whose careers are no longer on the mega-growth path. Overall, we seem to be doing better than our grown kids and grandkids. We were starting to slow down anyway; the pandemic accelerated that trendline. So long as income hasn't been an issue, we've suffered mainly from isolation and the inability to hug our grandkids or enjoy the pleasure of having an adult child drop by for an in-person visit.
I'm not the only one to think our generation has been luckier than others in this pandemic. Surveys over the last year show that, despite being at higher risk of contracting Covid and suffering severe complications, we've managed to stay relatively happier than younger generations.
Why is that? Here's what researchers at Stanford University's Center on Longevity, who surveyed some 1,000 adults, aged 18 to 76, reported:
Age was associated with relatively greater emotional well-being both when analyses did and did not control for perceived risk and other covariates. The present findings extend previous research about age and emotion by demonstrating that older adults’ relatively better emotional well-being persists even in the face of prolonged stress.
Their investigation of daily life amid the outbreak, found,
Older age was associated with less concern about the threat of Covid-19, better emotional well-being, and more daily positive events.
There's more than curiosity associated with the findings of this research. It has policy implications. As Susan Charles, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Irvine, told the New York Times,
“I think the older generation now, as much as it’s been threatened by Covid, they’re beginning to say, ‘My life is not nearly as disrupted as my children’s or grandchildren’s,' and that is where our focus on mental well-being should now turn.”