AARP International

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As we age...

Our outlook on aging living can make or break us

THE IMPACT

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Our outlook can guard against cognitive decline.

A positive attitude toward aging contributes to better future health and a lower risk of dementia, even among those with high-risk gene.

Preventive Medicine, 2004; PLOS One, 2018

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Ageist stereotypes at work can become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Studies show that, in the workplace, knowing you’re being stereotyped can negatively affect your performance and motivation.

Frontiers in Psychology, 2016

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Getting older can mean doing what we always dreamed of, like starting a business.

A 2009 survey found there were twice as many successful high-growth start-up founders over 50 than under 25.

Kauffman Foundation, 2009

The Takeaway

Think positively - because it matters.

Advice from Real People

“ I recently stopped dyeing my hair and embraced my natural grey. I figured if I was cool with dark hair, I’d be even more so now. It’s a good lesson for my kids: My hair doesn’t change who I am.”

“ I like sharing my experience with my grandkids. I had a career in costume design, so I can show them how to make outfits they can wear to school. It warms my heart to see how much they love it.”

“At 61, my aunt was elected to state congress. She said her age gives her wisdom and tenacity to be a strong public servant. She’s enjoying her later years, having shifted from raising a family to representing a whole community.”

The Research

People who view aging positively tend to live longer.

“ Older individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of aging.”

Kauffman Foundation, 2009

Having negative views on aging increases your likelihood of ending up in the hospital.

“ Subjects over age 70 were assessed over 10 years. Those who held more negative age stereotypes were associated with a 50% greater likelihood of experiencing a hospitalization.”

Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 2015.

When we change how we view our lives, our bodies follow suit.

“ Female room attendants working in seven different hotels were told that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise. As a result, compared with the control group, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index.”

Psychological Science, 2007A 2009 survey found there were twice as many successful high-growth start-up founders over 50 than under 25.

Redesign Your Time

Through the Living 100 project, AARP seeks to spark a conversation. How can we challenge our own mindsets and attitudes about aging? What do longer lifespans mean for current and future generations? How can we address disparities in race, gender, income, education and geography that can be a matter of life and death? And most importantly, how do institutions and systems need to change so that we are not only living longer, but making the most of our extra time?

 

Representing nearly 38 million people, AARP strives to ensure Americans aged 50 years and older have access to the care, information, and services they need to lead healthier lives with independence and dignity. Thus, AARP believes it’s time to Disrupt Aging—to reconceive the national conversation on what growing older means. Toward that, in an August 2017 supplemental issue sponsored by AARP, The Gerontologist put the scientific lens to Disrupt Aging via 12 peer-reviewed research papers examining how negative attitudes about aging affect health and quality of life.

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