You’ve probably heard the saying, “you’re as young as you feel“. Research suggests that this is truer than we might realize; our thoughts about aging can affect how we age.
The benefits of positive perceptions of aging include the following:
- a higher level of physical functioning over time¹
- 44% more likely to fully recover from disability¹
- on average, live 7.5 years longer.²
Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, made the following eye-opening comments at a roundtable discussion about “adding life to years”:
- Longevity has advanced to the point where conditions like old age and frailty can no longer be defined by numerical age.
- When a 100-year-old man finishes a marathon, as happened last year, we know that conventional conceptions of old age must change.
- We need to respect older people as rich sources of wisdom and experience, as assets for society, not burdens, as new models for the “new normal”.
Even the Bible hints at a more positive perception of age when it says, “the beauty of old men is the gray head.”³
Now is as good a time as any to take stock of our own perceptions regarding age.