Being positive with your age is the key to a longer and happier life.
When we were young, showing respect to elders is important yet evidence shows respecting elders save their lives and improve their mental and physical health.
According to Orb Media, countries having high respect for elders have lower levels of poverty and have better health compared to other older populations above 60 years old.
Despite the prediction that by 2050, 2.1 billion people will live beyond 60, attitudes towards elders have not been maintained.
Based on a survey by the World Health Organization in 2016, there are low levels of respect for older people according to 60% of respondents across 57 countries.
Royal Society for Public Health states that 47% of 2,000 British citizens believe that learning new skills is a struggle for people over 65 years old. 15% and a portion of 18 to 24 years old from the total number of respondents think that being unhappy and depressed when you are old is normal.
Because of the growth of medicalization of older adults and the promotion of anti-aging industry to gain more profit from the fear of aging, it is believed that negative attitudes have developed towards aging.
The risky side of stereotyping
Older people are placed under a lot of risks because of negative stereotypes, such as shortening their life span
Research shows that individuals who had a positive view on aging have lived longer than those who viewed it by about an average of 7.5 years.
Having a positive mindset gives people a longer life span because behavioral, physiological, and psychological mechanisms in the body are influenced by positive attitudes.
Behavior is improved with positive thinking which leads people to have healthier habits, such as exercising. Optimism allows people to cope with stress well which reduces the risks of brain shrinkage and memory loss. Also, having negative attitudes towards aging increases the development of mental conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Other research shows that people who had perceived aging positively develop cardiovascular diseases less and produce lesser stress hormones such as cortisol. Also, dementia was less frequent.
Where most negative people are found
Research shows that a higher level of respect for elders is evident in traditional rural societies compared to highly industrialized countries which find older people less valuable.
The World Values Survey that was carried out from 2010 to 2014 states that South Korea, Argentina, and Japan have the lowest level of respect for elders even if they have large populations for elderly people.
With this survey, a change in perception was established.
Middle-age men, for example, in Japan were highly regarded but are now valued less in the society.
Prejudice about the elderly had been established since the age of 6 and it was then hard to unlearn such stereotypes.
Where did these stereotypes originate?
Since 1880, a shift in attitudes toward older people had been found by researchers.
From 1810 to 1879, the United States had a positive view on the concept of getting older based on the synonyms analyzed from the word ‘elderly’, which has taken from 400 million words.
By the age of industrialization, starting from 1880, aging has then been viewed negatively. As the number of people over 65 years old increases, researchers found that there has also been a rise in the negative beliefs of that age.
Despite this, a lot of countries still view elders as people who have value and deserve respect.
Qatar, Georgia, and Uzbekistan have the highest scores when asked if people over 70 years old are regarded with respect.
A positive attitude towards age plays a crucial role among the elderly.
In a 2018 report, chances of developing dementia can be reduced by 49.8% when a positive mindset is kept. Happy thoughts also helps in the faster recovery of older people from cardiovascular disorders.
In order to increase their lifespan, people should acquire changes in their lifestyle and should make themselves ready as they age. Having a healthy diet and exercise help prolong one’s life.
When aging comes, it’s not so bad if you have been planning for it.