London - Forget being “50 and fabulous”... life now apparently starts at 61.

People in their 50s are more likely to be stressed and unhappy – as many are juggling work with caring for children and ageing parents, a report found. Turning 61 means they are more likely to feel happy as that burden of responsibility eases.

A survey of 1 100 over-50s found 15 percent were unhappy, compared with just five percent of over-61s and one percent of over-70s.

The “sandwich generation” 50-somethings who hold down a job while looking after children and elderly relatives were twice as likely to be “stressed” as the over-60s, where four out of five declared themselves “happy”.

The report by Co-operative Funeralcare found that happiness came from achieving life goals such as travelling, seeing their children grow up, owning a home and having a successful career.

The top regrets of the over-50s included failed relationships, gaining weight and spending too long at work but not enough time with their children.

Their goals included to travel more, to trace their family tree, move to the countryside, quit smoking and publish a novel.

Psychotherapist Christine Webber said the “baby boomer” generation found that practicalities such as having to pay bills restrict their life but added 50-somethings should realise the best years are to come and should not “preoccupy themselves with regrets”.

Daily Mail