“One of the most interesting study findings has to do with attitudes toward aging itself. Young middle-aged people (in their forties and fifties) with positive feelings about growing older- gaining wisdom, freedom from working, opportunities to travel and learn more- tended to enjoy better health, and better cognitive health later in life.” — Bill Gifford
I spend a lot of my day talking about how our attitudes impact our aging and health. Coming from a young person, I get a lot of dirty looks and people telling me I don't understand reality.
But this isn’t just some delusional thinking coming from what I would like aging to be. No. Our attitudes and beliefs influencing our health as we age are actually backed by research.
The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging is the longest-running study we have on aging today. It’s produced a huge volume of data that’s been sifted through by researchers to develop a...
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A few weeks ago I stumbled across a copy of the book Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever by Bill Gifford. I keep a running list of books related to health and aging, but this one wasn’t on my list and caught my eye. I’m so happy I picked it up. The comprehensive information in the book blew me away. I will summarize a little bit below but I highly recommend picking up a copy.
The author of the book, Bill Gifford, is a journalist who became curious about aging after watching the very different aging trajectories of his great uncle and his grandfather. How could two siblings live such drastically different lives? His great uncle was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and died in his 70’s while his grandfather lived a very active and playful life, still farming into his 90’s when he suddenly passed...
In my years as a physical therapist and restorative exercise specialist helping adults age well, I’ve realized aging well has more to do with mindset than any lack of knowledge of health. The adults I encounter who age well both view aging as a positive experience and maintain a strong mind-body connection as they age. The clients I’ve worked with have inspired me to do a lot of research over the years on healthy aging and these quotes have all inspired me along the way. I hope they do the same for you.
“Becoming an Old Person in Training makes it easier to think critically about what age means in this society and the forces at work behind depictions of older people as useless and pathetic. Shame can damage self-esteem and quality of life as much as externally imposed stereotyping. Becoming an Old Person in Training is a political act, because it derails this shame and self-loathing. It undoes the “otherness” that powers ageism (and...
“Becoming an Old Person in Training makes it easier to think critically about what age means in this society and the forces at work behind depictions of older people as useless and pathetic.” -Ashton Applewhite
When most people talk about aging, they portray this picture of decline. Hold onto this misguided belief the best years are behind them. Sadly the anti-aging message is pervasive in our society. And the increasing rates of social isolation among older adults speaks volumes about our views on aging.
But what if instead, we looked at aging as a time of growth? How drastically does that change this image?
There isn’t something specific about aging that causes a state of decline. Your beliefs are what cause change with age. Nothing more. By telling ourselves we've gotten "too old to..." we initiate the process of decline. If we'd just admit that yes, we are in fact getting older, embrace this fact, and view aging as an opportunity for further growth we’d...
“Ageism is prejudice against our own future selves.” -Ashton Applewhite
We see the phrase “anti-aging” everywhere. It’s obviously at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
But newsflash: we’re all aging.
There isn’t anything you can do to stop it.
And yet all we hear about are the negative aspects of aging. And this constant push to try to put a stop to a process that’s an inevitable aspect of life.
It’s become painfully apparent we live in an ageist society.
If you look around, you’ll notice a pattern. Of all the advertising to buy products or services to “hide” the fact that we’re aging.
And the real danger here is our thought patterns dictate our actions. Both our individual actions and the actions of society. When you take a look around, it becomes obvious we’ve structured world to discriminate against older adults. This TED Talk on ageism by Ashton Applewhite sums this up perfectly.