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The 3 Best Tips for Positive Aging
Positive aging is about making better choices in the near term to improve the long-term quality of life. Longevity isn’t the sole goal. Living well matters most. When people reflect on their personal aging experiences, attitudes can significantly impact the quality of their outcomes. A person’s mindset impacts their ability to recover from disease and injury, their risk of depression, and even their longevity. Researchers have found that people with negative attitudes about aging die seven and a half years earlier on average than individuals with positive aging attitudes. Thus, opinions about aging can become self-fulfilling prophecies. Affirmative attitudes can also reduce the risk of developing dementia, even with confirmed genetic markers. Attitude can beat biology!
Beyond attitude, three overlapping dimensions play incredibly powerful roles in shaping the quality and quantity of seniors’ lives:
1. Physical exercise
2. Choice and independence, and
3. Social interaction
1. Physical Exercise
Physical exercise is essential for people of all ages.
BENEFIT OF EXERCISE
Psychological. Exercise improves mood and can be as effective as medication for treating depression, regardless of age.
Self-esteem. Improved muscle tone and strength contribute to a positive sense of self-worth.
Physical health. Bodies that perform better, physically, enjoy improved longevity and quality of life.
Brain health. There’s new evidence that physical exercise can reverse brain aging.
Earlier this year, researchers discovered that a protein produced by the liver during an exercise called GPLD1 causes a chain reaction in the body that improves cognitive function, making older brains perform like younger brains!
2. Choice and Independence
Over four decades ago, researchers began studying the importance of personal control for people of various ages. One set of nursing home residents was given choices about furniture arrangement, their movements in the facility, and who they spent time with. They were also given an option to select and care for a house plant. The other group was told the staff was there to care for them, including caring for a plant that was chosen for them.
Over 18- month study, the first group showed health improvements, while the second group experienced more deaths.
Independence is one of the top social factors proven to create a longer, better life. This is the ability to make personal choices without waiting for permission from someone else. It’s a confidence booster. A sense of control, among elderly individuals, is a predictor of good health and a higher quality of life.
3. Social Interactions
Studies on US public health point to poor diet, smoking, and obesity as the three highest contributors to an early death. However, Brigham Young University took a closer look at another factor-loneliness- it found health damage that meets or exceeds the risks of smoking, obesity, alcoholism, and lack of exercise.
2020 The Year of Social Challenges. Most seniors have spent a lifetime building precious relationships. The coronavirus pandemic has made it incredibly difficult for older, high-risk populations to enjoy face -to face social interactions with friends and family. This year, technology has gained even more importance from a social perspective. Several options can help seniors stay “connected” even while restrictions are in place, such as Telemedicine, Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or others.
Source: The SRES Professional Volume 9, November/ December 2020