Older adults with negative attitudes towards ageing had slower walking speed and worse cognitive abilities as compared to their peers with more positive attitudes towards ageing, reveals a study.
Negative attitudes to ageing affect both physical and cognitive health in later years, whereas a positive attitude towards ageing improves cognitive ability, the findings showed.
“The way we think, talk, and write about ageing may have direct effects on health. 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,” said Deirdre Robertson, researcher from the Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
Researchers, policy makers, media and society more generally need to work together to develop and implement societal-wide interventions to target attitudes and find novel ways of maintaining health in later life, suggested the study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
In the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing 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.