Your attitude about aging and health can have a powerful and direct bearing on how you feel. There is plenty of evidence that today’s aging baby boomers are refusing to age in the “old-fashioned way.” Instead, boomers insist on growing older on their own terms.
In an article in Kaiser Health News, written by Bruce Horovitz, it’s noted that everyone around us may be growing older, but we don’t perceive ourselves as aging nearly as quickly. “Many of us are convinced that while everyone else is aging, that person we see in the mirror every morning is magically aging at a somehow slower pace,” Horovitz writes. “Call it what you will, but this gray-haired group of boomers and beyond – myself included – is having a hard time accepting the realities of aging. Yes, we are mortal, but we’re not quite believing it. The great irony, say experts on aging, is that this flirtation with a slightly different reality from our aging peers may, in fact, be a healthy thing.”
In a 2018 survey of 500,000 people conducted by Michigan State University, it was found that most people feel about 20 percent younger than they really are. This type of age-related self-perception seems to increase as we get older – and while it may seem like a form of denial, it’s actually very positive. Horovitz quotes the lead investigator from the Michigan State study, Professor William Chopik, who says, “People – particularly older people – usually say they feel younger than they are. People who report feeling younger actually tend to live longer and healthier lives – and they don’t tend to have as much of a pattern of decline.” In other words, a positive attitude about growing older makes it more likely that you’ll be happier and healthier as you grow older.
Feeling Positive About Your Health Means Greater Satisfaction with Life
As you might expect, younger seniors – those in the 65-74 age group – feel the most positive about their health, with 82 percent giving themselves an evaluation of good or better. But the next-oldest group, those 75 and older, continue to defy the stereotype: almost three-fourths call their health excellent, very good or good, while about 20 percent consider themselves in fair health and only 7 percent describe their health as poor. Interesting, considering that the majority of older adults – about 60 percent – have two or more chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease or kidney disease, and higher rates of physical impairment than other age groups. The answer lies in how older adults think about their health.
Feeling Positive About Your Health – and About Retirement
It’s good to feel positive about ourselves as we grow older, but unfortunately a positive mental attitude is not enough to protect you in retirement. What’s needed is a retirement plan that is comprehensive and multi-faceted. For example, you may have confidence that your financial needs will be met over the coming ten, twenty or thirty years – but do you have adequate legal protection in place beyond a basic will? Is your family aware of your hopes and desires as you age and will they be there for you? Have you considered your best options for medical coverage and your best housing plan, so that you will be prepared for whatever the future may hold?
Why not make it your goal this summer to find out more by attending a FREE Tacoma Elder Care Workshop with Bob Michaels? Let Bob explain the process, all your options and answer your questions in an information-packed 2-hour workshop designed to help you better prepare for any adventure that lies ahead.
Sign up for our next Workshop today! Or call for a one-on-one consultation with Bob.