Aging Positively: why what we think of “old age” matters
There is a lot to be said about a positive frame of mind; not only is it more pleasant, research has found it can also impact the way in which we age, particularly when it comes to how we view “old age.” Research of over two and a half decades has found that those with positive views about old age not only live longer, they age better.
Research has found that positive agers are less likely to be depressed or anxious, and they have increased feelings of well-being and an ability to recover more quickly from disability. They are also less likely to develop dementia and the markers of Alzheimer’s disease.
If these findings aren’t enough to change your frame of mind, this might be: a study of Americans with more positive views on aging who were tracked over decades lived 7.5 years longer than those with negative views. Studies in Germany and Australia have found similar results.
The question becomes, how can such a simple thing have such a great impact?
The answer is equally simple, those with negative age stereotypes have been found to have higher levels of stress. The impact of stress is well-known and has been found to correlate with a range of health problems. However, those who expect a better life in old age – due to positive thinking – are more likely to take better care of themselves as a result. Meaning they exercise, eat well, visit the doctor, and maintain an active social life.
Other research suggests it isn’t just how we view ourselves, but how others treat and view aging adults that matters as well. This study found that “people primed to think of themselves as older perform worse on tests of mental and physical ability,” suggesting that the “you’re only as old as you feel” cliché is real, and that collectively we need to view aging in a better light.
A major takeaway from these findings is that we need to respect and revere aging, more than most populations currently do. I came across a quote recently by a woman named Marília Viana Berzins. She says, “Old age is actually an achievement. It’s humanity’s biggest achievement of the last century.” And at Amintro, we couldn’t agree more.
“Old age” (we cringe at that term) is spectacular. It refers to those with life experience, knowledge and a lifetime of memories, love and growth. Growing “old” isn’t a given, many don’t have the opportunity. But, it also isn’t a life sentence.
This is why Amintro was created, to help those fifty plus live life to its fullest.
A social app designed exclusively for those fifty plus looking to make new friends, Amintro is founded on years of research, with input from experts in the field of sociology and mature adults. Free to join, members can create an online profile that reflects who they are as a friend and what they consider important characteristics in their friends, based on personal experiences, likes and dislikes.
This platform helps older adults create a community, both online and off, connecting them with people right in their own neighbourhood (possibly even within the same apartment or condominium) so that they can receive the social engagement they need in various ways.
By Christine Tompa