Wednesday January 23, 2013
Embrace ageing gracefully
WANT to grow old gracefully and healthfully? A new study out of the United States found that seniors who embrace the ageing process are more likely to recover from a disability than their curmudgeonly counterparts.
In a study that props up the proverb, “You’re only as old as you feel”, researchers from the Yale School of Public Health found people who chose to have positive stereotypes on growing old were 44% more likely to overcome an accident or disability compared to those who held negative attitudes.
For their research, which was published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association, scientists looked at 598 individuals who were at least 70 years old and free of disability at the start of the study.
Participants were followed up from 1998 to 2008 with regular interviews.
To determine their attitudes and stereotypes towards ageing, individuals were asked to come up with five words to describe “older persons”. Responses were coded according to their negative or positive association. Words ranged from “spry” to “decrepit”.
“This result suggests that how the old view their ageing process could have an effect on how they experience it,” said co-author Becca Levy.
“In previous studies, we have found that older individuals with positive age stereotypes tend to show lower cardiovascular response to stress and they tend to engage in healthier activities, which may help to explain our current findings.”
Recovery from disability was defined as being able to bathe, get dressed, move from a chair and walk independently.
More good news? Another study published in Current Directions In Psychological Science showed that seniors tend to grow sunnier dispositions as they get older because they’re better at controlling their emotions and are more likely to be drawn away from negative material in their old age towards positive material. – Relaxnews