It seems that we are what we think and what we feel. Researchers have recently discovered that people who are old and who have a negative view about life, have higher chances of getting ill, than those who are optimistic. Old people are still seen as incompetent and burdens, and it is no surprise that people have fears about getting old.
What Did the Study Reveal?
For the study conducted by the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, the researchers used information from 440 men and women. The study began in 1968, by the time when the participants were with ages between 18 and 49. The researchers collected data about their health records, and views about the older life. The study revealed the fact that there was a connection between poor cardiovascular health and lowly views of old age. 25 percent of the people who had a bad opinion about aging suffered by a heart condition. Only 13 percent of the ones who were optimistic about aging suffered from these illnesses.
It was suspected for a long time now that people who have a bad opinion about old age, have higher chances of suffering of what they are afraid of. Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health, the leader of the study, and she had a vast experience in the domain.
She discovered that people, who held negative stereotypes against old people, had higher chances of suffering from hearing problems. The interesting thing is that a negative view about old life from the early years has the same effects as the views from a more advanced age. This means that people should have a positive view about old life regardless of the age.
There were people who started to develop heart problems only after they reached the age of 60. The researchers believe that these people had negative views about old life from a younger age. Researchers stated that they could not find any other reasons for the development of these diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, and so on. It seems that these people suffer of poor heart health because of the views they had about old age when they were young.
The Explanation of the Study
It sounds pretty ridiculous, but the researchers say that the theory can be easily explained. The negative view about life could cause those persons to be more stressed than the others, and also to develop an unhealthy lifestyle. These two elements combined can be very dangerous.
Researchers also discovered that the health of the senior citizens can decline if the other people treat them like incapable of taking care of themselves. Using baby talk when communicating with an elder person can be very exasperating and insulting, and thus they have higher chances of developing an illness. The elders can be affected by the way in which they view themselves, how others view the elders, and how young people view the old age. All of these factors can influence health.