Aging Well

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A Positive Attitude Can Add 7.5 Years to Your Life

What if you had a relatively simple way to extend the length of your life? Would you be interested?

With a new year upon us, many people are thinking about ways to improve their health, become more fit and possibly extend their life. 

Research has shown that people with positive perceptions of aging live 7.5 years longer than those who don’t. And people with positive perceptions of aging:

  • Experience much higher rates of recovery from illness and injury
  • Have better brain performance and improved memory
  • Have a greater sense of control over their lives and a greater will to live
  • Are more likely to talk to a doctor about health problems, get preventive care such as blood pressure screenings and flu shots, and pursue health promotion programs

Maintaining a positive perception of aging is challenging for some people due to the prevalence of ageism in our society. Ageism is prejudice or discrimination against or in favor of an age group.

Common stereotypes depict old age as a time of poor health and functioning or a regression back to childhood. People subjected to negative stereotyping may adopt the negative views and act accordingly with detrimental effects to their self-image, confidence and abilities.

Examining our personal views on aging, as well as the messages we are getting around us, is important. Encourage others to join you in promoting positive perceptions of aging that can influence our physical and mental health, and even longevity.

Source: Jane Strommen, NDSU Extension Gerontology Specialist, 701-231-5948, Jane.strommen@ndsu.edu

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