A Positive Attitude May Be the Key to Aging Well



Brookdale article picBy Jim Concotelli, MSW, Ph.D.

Most experts agree that the notion of aging is, first and foremost, a state of mind. The word “older” is relative to a person’s own age and means something different to each of us. Although the traditional image of getting older is one of gradual decline, recently it has been recognized that there is no secret formula to aging well, but we may actually have far more control over the aging process and, in particular, our response to the challenges of aging.

In a study of centenarians, the common thread among these successful older adults was a zest for life and a clear sense of meaning and purpose. They consistently say “yes” to life and face the trials of aging with grace.

For most of them, their daily activities have a sense of purpose, although they may be considered by some to be simply leisurely pursuits. They seem to derive energy and satisfaction from serving others and pursuing a meaningful goal that transcends self-interest. Another common theme among this group was a positive attitude towards life. Their everyday mantra was, “Be cheerful and try to be as happy as you can.”

And this motto may be the untold story of aging well—it is about a positive attitude toward life, about the spiritual quest to find meaning, and about personal growth in search of wisdom and spiritual wellness. From this spiritual perspective, successful aging is attainable for everyone, regardless of their health challenges.

According to this study of older and wiser individuals, it seems attitude matters a great deal. In fact, it may be attitude more than action that ultimately determines whether or not a person ages well. Many of the participants in the study on successful aging demonstrated this important truth over and over again. They emphasized that faith, attitude and spirituality play key roles in bringing hope and comfort when faced with the challenges of aging.

Fortunately, the exploration of meaning and spiritual wellness is within reach for most people. Regardless of the extent of health concerns, losses or limitations, each of us can choose a positive attitude toward life. All that is required is a grateful heart, an open mind and a smile to share.

Jim Concotelli, MSW, Ph.D., is Director of Optimum Life® at Brookdale Senior Living®, a leading owner and operator of senior living communities throughout the nation. 

 

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 Submitted By:  Brookdale Senior Living

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One Comment


  1. Brenda Benton says:

    This is a great article. It’s funny about circumstances…..this article is dated September 11th. On September 11th my father celebrated his 98th birthday. This article describes him….he walks, talk, performs all the activities of daily living, has a keen mind and works daily as a Teachers Assistant for children ages 3 & 4 at Turning Point Christian Academy.
    He arrives to work at 7:00am and is usually there until 8:00pm. He credits his faith, love for God and people and hard work ethic to his long life. He prays diligently, reads the bible daily and attends church services 3 to 4 times per week. He is always speaking encouragement into the lives of others. I printed your article to share with him and others.