Functioning Better As We Age

A new study looks at ageism and physical and cognitive decline

“It was clear to us that, even in the midst of physical or cognitive decline, individuals in our study reported feeling that their well-being had improved with age,” says principal investigator Dilip V. Jeste, MD. This counterintuitive increase in well-being with aging persisted even after accounting for variables like income, education, and marriage.

“Even though older age was closely associated with worse physical and cognitive functioning, it was also related to better mental functioning,” says Colin Depp, PhD, co-author of the new study published in American Journal of Psychiatry.

The fastest-growing segment of the American population is over 80 years old. While aging is treated as a progressive decline in physical and cognitive functioning, this negative view contrasts with the results of this new study of 1,006 older adults between 50 and 99 years.

Essentially, how the participants felt about themselves was more important than their physical health. The study concludes that resilience and depression affect self-rated successful aging as much as physical health does.

Jeste suggests that an optimistic approach to the care of seniors may help reduce societal ageism.

We suggest that this study is just another in a long line proving that what you think, you become

Image: Some rights reserved by Public Places (away for a few days)

Category: Belief


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