I just read this and its something I hope not to forget 🙂
A recent study by the Yale School of Public Health and the National Institute of Aging in Baltimore conducted a long-term study following and testing hundreds of men and women over a period of 38 years.
Researchers assessed their memory every six years from 1968 until 1991 and then every two years. They presented participants with 10 cards containing geometric shapes and then asked them to reproduce the figures. They also presented participants with stereotypes such as “old people are absent-minded” and “old people can concentrate well” and asked to what extent they agreed.
The results were striking. The more positive people were about ageing and the fewer negative stereotypes they held, the more they retained their powers of memory. Those with gloomy views of old age lost their memory earlier. When negative participants were 70, their memories were only as good as the optimistic 73 year olds. By 80 the gap had widened to six years and by 90 they had the same recall powers as the cheerful 99 year olds. Overall there was a 30% greater memory decline for those aged 60 and above in the more negative stereotype group.
The study found another effect. Researchers asked participants when they thought people became old. Those who believed that they were not old yet had better memories.
Perhaps there is truth in the old saying “You are only as old as you feel”.