A ‘glass half full attitude’ is the secret
to successful ageing, according to early findings from a US study.
Professor Dilip Jeste, President of the American Psychiatric
Association and Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry
& Neurosciences at the University of California, told
delegates at the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ International
Congress 2012 in Liverpool that being optimistic is an
important strategy for living a happy old age. Other important
qualities linked to an enjoyable retirement are wisdom, resilience,
and a stimulating environment.
Since 2010, Dr Jeste has led a long-term
study evaluating what factors are associated with successful
ageing. The Successful Ageing Evaluation Study (SAGE) looks at more
than 1,000 randomly chosen people aged 50 to 100, living in San
Diego, California. Not surprisingly, early findings show that as
people get older their physical health tends to decline. But poor
physical health was not necessarily linked with a negative
experience of ageing. When people were asked to rate whether they
thought they were ageing well, the older they were, the more likely
they were to be positive about ageing. And having a positive
attitude towards life was found to be associated with successful
Dr Jeste told delegates: “This study shows
that just because our physical health tends to decline as we get
older, doesn’t mean we can’t have an enjoyable old age. Society
tends to have a negative attitude towards older people, but getting
older is not all doom and gloom. Being optimistic, resilient,
keeping the mind active, and living in a stimulating environment
are essential qualities that help people to get the most out of
life as they get older.”
Dr Jeste urged psychiatrists and other
health professionals not to measure older people’s well-being
purely on their physical health, but to remember that staying
mentally active and having a positive attitude to life are
important factors in staying well.
For further information, please
McLoughlin in the Communications Department.
Telephone: 0203 701 2544 or 07738 349070
The Royal College of Psychiatrists' International Congress 2012 was held in Liverpool, 10-13 July 2012.