Positives of Aging

We want to protect our elderly loved ones from harm, but it’s equally important to remember that with age comes a wealth of wisdom and knowledge that should be rewarded with dignity and respect. While it’s true that certain conditions—such as dementia or depression—require intervention, aging does not. What are the first words that come to your mind when you think of aging? Disability? Deterioration? Depression? If so, new research indicates that you may want to turn that thinking around. Studies like the one conducted at the Yale School of Public Health are showing that our attitude towards aging can develop into self-fulfilling prophecies, with real physical damage resulting from negative, stereotypical expectations of growing older. Conversely, those in the study who received subliminal positive messages about aging displayed equally positive improvements in areas such as strength, balance and self-image.

So, specifically, what are the positives of aging that we need to stay focused on to enhance our own aging experience? Knowing the facts and disregarding the myths is key. And the facts are, the majority of seniors consistently reported a higher level of satisfaction than their younger counterparts in social, financial, physical and community aspects of life. It’s also important to note that the physical and health decline that we tend to attribute to aging is actually better blamed on other conditions, such as specific diseases, poor diet, lack of exercise, even disorganization and busyness—many of which are treatable. Think of how differently our senior society can look as a whole when we start to view aging through the proper perspective. It begins with us!

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