To Age Well, Start by Thinking Good Thoughts

To Age Well, Start by Thinking Good Thoughts
Turns out, there’s real science behind the power of positive thinking.
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Research today shows that as people age, their perceptions of what aging means can actually play a part in defining that experience—not vice versa. So if you assume old age will be a period of difficulty and decline, it probably will be. The good news is that for those who view aging as a time for personal growth, it can be.
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Why so? Because positive perspective helps us pursue activities that reflect our planned direction. If you believe you’ll make friends in old age, you’re more likely to nurture new friendships.
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At AcaciaCreek, a Masterpiece Living Certified Center for Successful Aging and retirement community, we believe a positive outlook is an important part of aging—and just one of many ways that adjusting our perceptions can change lives for the better. For instance:
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Myth 1: Aging is about loss and decline.
The reality is that people can continue to build healthy habits as they age. Over a three-year period, Masterpiece Living Community residents experienced fewer falls, ate more fruits and vegetables, and volunteered more often.
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Myth 2: Older adults do not contribute to society.
Older adults provide vital volunteer services to communities nationwide. In 2016, 48 percent of Masterpiece Living Community residents volunteered on a weekly basis, donating approximately 216,000 hours of time—a $5.2 million value.
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Myth 3: Memory loss is inevitable.
Not all older adults experience memory loss – and brain-healthy activities can help with cognitive retention. Over a three-year period, 92 percent of Masterpiece Living Community residents reported having the same or better memory and 88 percent reported that memory loss has not limited their social activities.
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Myth 4: Older adults like being left alone.
This myth may be one of the most harmful of all. Socialization is important for all people, regardless of age. It has an important bearing on how satisfied people are with their lives.
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Of older adults who don’t feel lonely, 81 percent have high levels of meaning and purpose and 86 percent are satisfied with their lives. Among those who do feel lonely, those rates decline to 38 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
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Remember that life is what we make of it! By challenging ourselves to learn new things, build new friendships, and adopt healthy habits, we are on the way to longevity and fulfilling lives.