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Attitude toward ageing can affect how well we age

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Washington: In aging, as in many things, attitude can make a lot of difference and now, a research has shown that how people feel about ageing can have a direct effect on health.

Negative attitudes to ageing affect both physical and cognitive health in later years, new research reveals. The study from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), at Trinity College Dublin, further reveals that participants with positive attitudes towards ageing had improved cognitive ability.

Older adults with negative attitudes towards ageing had slower walking speed and worse cognitive abilities two years later, compared to older adults with more positive attitudes towards ageing. This was true even after participants’ medications, mood, their life circumstances and other health changes that had occurred over the same two-year period were accounted for.

Furthermore, negative attitudes towards ageing seemed to affect how different health conditions interacted. Frail older adults are at risk of multiple health problems including worse cognition. In the TILDA sample frail participants with negative attitudes towards ageing had worse cognition compared to participants who were not frail. However frail participants with positive attitudes towards ageing had the same level of cognitive ability as their non-frail peers.

Lead researcher Dr Deirdre Robertson said that everyone will grow older and if negative attitudes towards ageing are carried throughout life they can have a detrimental, measurable effect on mental, physical and cognitive health.

The study appears in Personality and Individual Differences. (ANI)

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