Objectives: We examined the number of years to be lived with and without cognitive impairment and with high self-assessed quality of life (i.e., happiness) among a nationally representative sample of Americans aged 65 years and older. Two key questions are addressed: Can people have a high quality of life despite being cognitively impaired? Which is longer: happy life expectancy or cognitively intact life expectancy? Method: Data from nine waves of the Health and Retirement Study (1998-2014) were used to estimate transition probabilities into and out of cognitively intact/impaired-un/happy states, as well as to death. Recently extended Bayesian multistate life table methods were used to estimate age-specific cognitively intact and happy life expectancy net of sex, race/ethnicity, education, and birth cohort. Results: Happiness and cognitive impairment were shown to coexist in both the gross cross-tabulated data and in the life tables. Happy life expectancy is approximately 25% longer than cognitively intact life expectancy at age 65 years, and by age 85, happy life expectancy is roughly double cognitively intact life expectancy, on average. Discussion: Lack of cognitive impairment is not a necessary condition for happiness. In other words, people can have a high quality of life despite being cognitively impaired.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences|
|State||Published - Feb 1 2021|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cognitive impairment
- Health and Retirement Study
- Quality of life
- Subjective well-being
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies