To thrive in old age, keep an open mind

November 28, 2010 By Janice Lloyd

Don't worry, be happy about getting older.

New research shows being optimistic and open-minded and having a will to live are key that promote successful aging and might even help prolong life.

Studies presented at the meeting of the Gerontological Society of America here looked at the relationship of psychological resources to and well-being in centenarians and subjects as young as 65.

"We see less decline, maybe even growth" among older people with these traits, says Daniela Jopp of Fordham University. She studied 356 adults ages 65-94 who rated their and psychological strengths such as persistence, optimistic outlook and will to live.

Being open-minded is going to be vital for Baby Boomers to thrive, says Jay Firman, as they face the changes aging will create in their lives.

"It's going to be uncharted territory for them," says Firman, president of the National Council on Aging. "A lot of people will get depressed when they give up careers. They will have to find a new sense of self-worth."

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1 / 5 (1) Nov 28, 2010
It's hard to see what this study reveals that Bobby McFerrin didn't tell us in 1988...
1 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2010
Well, it's easy for Bobby to sing. But think of us who know too much.

The ignorant happy-go-lucky are in a good circle. The less you know, the easier it is to ignore looming threats and just shrug. And the happier and more ignorant you are, the more others like you and feel that you don't challenge their superiority (or whatever their problem is), and the more you are supported and carried over troubled waters by oters.

God or no God? Just shrug, and say "I'll find out later, won't I?", and then just happily go on, right?

But I bet many of us PhysOrg readers, or other scientifically minded, just simply can't switch over to this ignorant bliss. When you know there's no god, when you know that we are at the peak of oil and coal consumption, when you know that Eternal Economic Growth simply cannot continue, because you understand exponents (http://www.youtub...rkpBSY), when you know 100 other things, you simply can't relax like the ignorant. (I envy them!)

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