Staying Positive While Aging Can Reduce the Risk of Dementia

By Tom Lee, 9:04 am on
Positive Senior doing Yoga in Burlington, VT

For most of us, running a marathon (that’s 26.2 miles) wouldn’t be on our “To-Do” list. For 82-year-old Ginette Bedard, of Howard Beach, Queens has not only crossed this off her list, she has done it more than once! She was 69 years old before she started running seriously, and she’s been able to continually participate in the marathon, as a result of diligence in training – running on average 3 hours a day and maintaining a healthy positive attitude.

Smiling is proved to help with more than physical health; a person’s positive outlooks on aging impact brain function, too. Recently a Yale University study showed that a good life attitude even reduces the risk of dementia. A group of 4,765 people with an average age of 72 years was studied. They found that the seniors with a gene variant linked to dementia, but had positive attitudes about aging, were considerably less likely to develop dementia as opposed to others who carried the same gene but faced aging with a fearful or pessimistic attitude. These results are a powerful reminder to all of us to fully enjoy our lives. Our good attitude toward the future will help us be healthier and feel more fulfilled in life.

Imagine how Bedard has pulled on her running shoes and run for three hours daily for years! That takes incredible motivation and time. People can easily come up with excuses to stay away from the neighborhood gym, or any type of exercise, so how does she do it? There are many less challenging and strenuous ways to keep looking at life optimistically, so read on and consider the following tips for positive aging.

 Immerse yourself in positivity.  Keep in good company with others who have similar positive outlooks on life, and who believe in the same goals. You will be able to maintain a better positive attitude. It’s contagious!

 Limit the complaints. Don’t be that person who complains all the time about long lines at the grocery store, slow-moving traffic or rainy weather! Other people may find you too difficult and will start avoiding you and your persistent negative attitude will take you down to the depths, as well. Of course, bad days can be expected, but don’t wallow in self-pity for long. Let it go!

 Practice a morning routine. How do you wake up in the morning and what do you do in your first waking hour? Your morning routine can set the tone for the whole day ahead. Create a consistent routine of healthy habits like exercise, a nutritious breakfast, meditation, or a few minutes of relaxing while sipping a cup of coffee. Delay negative news from the newspaper or television news and enjoy an uplifting conversation with someone that means a lot to you.

 Find ways to laugh. Go to a funny movie, an improv or comedy show, view videos on YouTube that make you laugh, or horseplay with your children or grandchildren. Full belly laughter is healthy for you… and contagious!

 Be proactive. Set your daily, weekly and yearly goals, and follow through with them! If you stick to your goal plan and accomplish the things you said you would, your life outlook will be more positive, as well.

What are some ways you like to use to remain positive? Our caregiving team is happy to help provide a friendly smile and companionship to help seniors keep a positive outlook. Home Care Assistance trains caregivers on The Balanced Care Method a uniquely holistic approach to senior care which includes a focus on quality socialization and focus on helping our clients maintain a sense of purpose. Meeting client’s higher level needs promotes quality of life.

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