Your attitude now predicts better — or worse — senior living

Everyone ages. There is no escaping it. It’s part of life, and how you perceive your coming golden years may affect just how bright — or tarnished — those years will be for you.

Attitude can make all the difference in the world in a lot of situations. But would you have guessed it can impact how well you age? Or the status of your health as you do? Findings from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin, says it can.

According to researchers, negative attitudes toward ageing affect both your physical and cognitive health as your age. Of course in a society where youth is celebrated — and synonymous with beauty and vitality — no one wants to feel like they are an old timer.

But if you want your golden years to be golden — you’re going to have to embrace the positives.

Negative attitude = negative outcome

The mind has a powerful effect on the body. So it really isn’t that surprising to see that depression or negativity can manifest itself physically.

One key finding from the TILDA study shows that study participants with negative attitudes towards ageing actually had slower walking speed, not to mention worse cognitive abilities — two years after the study — compared to older adults with more positive attitudes towards ageing.

Those negative thoughts were very powerful too, because their effects continued despite changes in medication, mood, or life circumstance during the study period. And the frailer the person — the worse their health was affected by their negative attitude.

There are many reasons some people feel negatively about the aging process. They may feel lonelier as friends their own age fall into poor health or even pass away. Without strong family connections that loneliness is compounded. Keeping a solid social life can also depend on how active you are.

To counter any negative effects, you should start changing your attitude about ageing — and your ways— while you still can…

Put a spring in your step

Losing your ability to walk or get around easily is one of the most depressing things the elderly experience. And lack of independence can spiral into depression and more health issues.

But it all begins with the life you build for yourself — and how you feel about entering your golden years.

Speaking about the TILDA findings, lead researcher Dr. Deirdre Robertson commented: “The way we think about, talk about and write about ageing may have direct effects on health. Everyone will grow older and if negative attitudes towards ageing are carried throughout life they can have a detrimental, measurable effect on mental, physical and cognitive health.”

So all that ends here. If you put a spring in your attitude now, you’ll have a spring in your step later — and be better able to keep your mobility and your mental prowess as you age.

There are many positive things to look forward to about entering your golden years. Firstly, you have decades of wisdom and experiences to share. You’ve lived and you’ve learned. Even if you are not close with your family or have grandchildren, there are ways you can share that information — and develop new friendships — within your community.

Secondly, you’ll be able to retire and enjoy a comfortable life — with more time to do the things you never had time to slow down for when you were younger. Have you yearned to take up gardening? Painting, model train building, knitting… any number of fulfilling hobbies? Now’s the time to them.

Something to look forward to

Lastly—there are many things about you that get better with age. According to Prevention magazine a few of them are:

  • Self-confidence: Remember feeling too intimidated to speak your mind? Not anymore! Most seniors say they wouldn’t trade place with a 20-something year-old for anything.
  • Allergies: Seasonal allergies, particularly hay fever, seem to dissipate over time, says Michael J. Welch, co-director of the Allergy & Asthma Medical Group and Research Center in San Diego. “We’re not sure exactly why, but we do see that older people don’t have as many symptoms of seasonal allergies,” he says. “We tend to outgrow food allergies, as well.”
  • Body image: Young people are obsessed with it. Won’t it be nice to be comfortable in your own skin—and have a grasp on the things that really matter?
  • Decision making: Some experts say that the more years we clock, the easier the task of making tough decisions becomes. And according to a recent study published in Psychological Science, the insight and life experiences adults acquire over time make them better equipped to choose, well, wisely.
  • Empathy: Researchers at the University of Michigan found that women aged 50 to 59 were more likely to make an effort to relate to different perspectives. You just might change the world! 1
Easy Health Options Staff

By Easy Health Options Staff

Submitted by the staff at Easy Health Options®.