For a Better Recovery, Think Positive
Seniors who have a positive view of old age are likelier to recover from an episode of disability than are those who have negative views of aging, according to a new study.
The research, conducted at Yale University’s School of Public Health, analyzed responses from 598 people who were at least 70 years old and free of disability at the start of the study.
Lead researcher Becca R. Levy and her colleagues found that people who suffered an episode of severe disability but had positive images of aging were 44 percent likelier to recover than those who had negative images of growing old.
In a statement, Levy said that the difference in recovery rates may not be due to positive images alone. “In previous studies,” she said, “we have found that older individuals with positive age stereotypes tend to show lower cardiovascular response to stress and they tend to engage in healthier activities, which may help explain our current findings.”
Researchers defined “recovery” from an episode of severe disability as being able to bathe, dress, move from a chair, and walk.
The results of the study, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging, were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.