Aging and the self-fulfilling prophecy

you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”
—Henry Ford

turns out this truism applies to the ways we perceive the aging process itself.
Research shows that older adults who view aging as a time of continued learning
and development are physically more resilient. They seem to weather a setback
and regain their mobility and independence more readily. They stay healthier
and live longer than their peers who view aging primarily as a time of decline.

As a society we tend to
hold aging in a negative light. But studies have found that advanced years do
indeed bring many benefits. When compared to younger generations, for instance,
older adults generally are more able to

  • focus
    on the positives
  • tune
    out the negatives
  • relax
    and accept who they are

The wisdom of aging may
be that older adults recognize life is too short to “sweat the small stuff.” And
with accumulated years, they have developed more coping skills for life’s
inevitable rough spots.

Get this self-fulfilling
prophecy working in your loved one’s favor! Try asking some of these questions
to help him or her identify the special strengths of aging:

  • If you were suddenly 20
    again, what skills or wisdom would you miss?
  • What has helped you
    through hard times in the past?
     Look for ways to emphasize these skills
    or resources.
  • What people, activities,
    or situations tend to leave you feeling positive?
     Consider ways to
    emphasize these resources. For many older adults, family and social
    interactions bring the greatest joy.
  • What is the ‘gift’ in
    your situation right now?
     With aging, we frequently come to realize that in every
    situation the good coexists with the bad. Even people with incurable diseases
    can usually identify something positive they have learned as a result of their

Is the glass looking half empty?
Let our strengths-based approach give everyone a fresh perspective. As the Metro DC experts in family caregiving, we at Debra Levy Eldercare Associates can help with a realistic picture of the glass-half-full side of the equation. Give us a call at 301-593-5285.