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A positive outlook on aging aids in recovery from disabilities

December 10, 2012
by Sandra Hoban, Executive Editor
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Seniors who embrace the positive aspects of aging fare better in recovering from disabilities than those who have a negative outlook, new research from the Yale School of Public Health has found.  

The study followed 598 people 70 years of age and older for 11 years. No one had a disability at the outset of the study. However, over time, many did experience conditions that affected their abilities to perform activities of daily living (ADLs), with the study focusing on bathing, dressing, transferring and walking.

Of those who experienced a severe disability—being unable to perform three ADLs—those with a positive outlook on aging had a more successful recovery than those who held on to negative stereotypes. Interventions to promote positive aging could help seniors remain independent longer.

Lead researcher Becca R. Levy, associate professor of epidemiology and psychology, and director of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division at the Yale School of Public Health, noted in a release, “This result suggests that how the old view their aging process could have an effect on how they experience it.”

The ability to perform ADLs was associated with less use of healthcare facilities and an increase in life expectancy.

Read the article in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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