Bupa UK research reveals the art of a long and happy life

25 June 2019 . United Kingdom

The art to a long and happy life includes gossip, getting plenty of sun and not working in an office, according to older Brits.

Resident with daughter in care home

Those aged 55 plus also believe getting at least eight hours sleep, living somewhere rural and having a loving partner helps too.

Painting and drawing, seeing lots of the world and a small act of kindness every single day can also lead to a prolonged and contented existence. 

Commissioned by Bupa UK to mark Care Home Open Day which takes place on 28 June, the research of 2,000 adults aged 55 plus also found they first began to realise the secret to a happy life aged 49.

Joan Elliott, Managing Director, Bupa UK Care Services said: “We will all have our own theories on what makes for a happy and fulfilled life but it’s fascinating to get the insights of the older generation slightly more experienced people.

“Overall there are a number of themes within our top 50 secrets to a long and happy life namely love, friendship, creativity, eating well and being outside.

“Creativity appears to be especially important and perhaps this is because it stimulates the mind and allows us to express ourselves and release any frustrations.”

Laughing an average of eight times a day also leads to a long and happy life, according to those polled.

Reading every day is recommended too - and so is taking care of your appearance and owning a pet.

Getting your five a day also has a positive effect - as does listening to music every day and working with people you get on with.

Going on a big holiday ever year is believed to make a difference as well, along with enjoying chocolate and cake in moderation, and doing things for charity.

Half of over 55s wish they had more time to do the things which make them happy – such as hobbies and spending time with family.

Those polled have an average of two hobbies on the go and they dedicate more than 369 hours a year to them – the equivalent of 15 days in total.

Carried out through OnePoll, the Bupa UK research also found those polled think creativity is key to being happy – something 35 per cent wish they had more time for.

And being happy is ‘vital’ to our physical and mental wellbeing - nine in 10 believe happiness improves our overall health levels.

Of those polled, 37 per cent said they are happier now than they ever have been.

Joan Elliott, Managing Director, Bupa Care Services added: “It’s fantastic to see so many respondents are happy with their lives – most people might think we’re happiest when we are younger

“But the research shows there is much to look forward to as we grow older - having more time to pursue hobbies is just one thing to be excited about.

"In our care homes, we make sure our residents have a variety of activities they can enjoy to ensure they are living fulfilled lives - this varies from gardening to arts and crafts. This Care Home Open Day, I want to encourage people of all ages to visit our homes and join in with the activities we are putting on.”

Top 50 – secrets to a long and happy life

  1. A loving partner
  2. Being close to family
  3. Laughing every day
  4. Doing regular exercise
  5. Getting out and enjoying nature
  6. Getting eight hours a sleep
  7. Owning a pet
  8. Having enough money to do what you want
  9. Having a job you love
  10. Playing with your kids / grandkids
  11. Having a hobby
  12. Having at least one really close friend
  13. Getting your five a day
  14. Living in the countryside
  15. A small act of kindness every day
  16. Reading every day
  17. Having lots of friends
  18. Having a good sex life
  19. Having breakfast every day
  20. Going on lots of little holidays
  21. Listening to music every day
  22. The Mediterranean diet
  23. Seeing lots of the world
  24. Looking after your appearance
  25. Working with people you get along with
  26. Making sure you get enough sun
  27. Having treats like chocolate and cake in moderation
  28. Avoiding alcohol
  29. Going on a big holiday ever year
  30. Doing a crossword or Sudoku every day
  31. Doing puzzles
  32. Watching your favourite TV shows
  33. Getting up early
  34. Cooking every day
  35. Relaxing with yoga or meditation
  36. Eating whatever you want
  37. Having a lie in at least once a week
  38. Getting involved in the local community
  39. Doing things for charity
  40. Staying single
  41. Going to events like concerts or sporting events
  42. Going to the beach as much as possible
  43. Being crafty, like knitting or crochet
  44. Not working in an office
  45. Giving someone else a compliment every day
  46. Having a good gossip
  47. Taking/looking at photos every day
  48. Painting or drawing
  49. Getting a compliment from someone else every day
  50. Playing music every day

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives. With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

Health insurance accounts for the major part of our business with 17.5m customers and contributes 73% of revenue. We operate clinics, dental centres and hospitals in some markets, with 15.8m customers. We care for around 22,000 residents in our aged care businesses in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

We directly employ around 83,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Chile, Poland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Turkey, Brazil, the US, Middle East and Ireland. We also have associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com.