Age with Optimism
As Americans age, one element seems to be key for their mental and physical health: optimism.
That’s the finding suggested by a new Humana survey, which asked Americans age 60 and over how they perceive the importance of various wellness traits.
Although the survey uncovered many perspectives, the findings about optimism suggest a possible link between a “glass half full” mentality and mental and physical health:
• Older Americans who rated themselves as very optimistic about aging tended to be the most active physically, socially and in their communities.
• They also reported a much lower number of physically unhealthy days per month on average: 2.84 for the most optimistic, compared to 12.55 physically unhealthy days for the least optimistic.
• The most optimistic also felt on average 12 years younger than their actual age (those who are least optimistic felt on average 7 years older than their actual age).
The survey also asked respondents to rate how they feel about the depiction of people age 60 and over in pop culture: in film, television, commercials and so on.
Overwhelmingly, the respondents perceived these media portrayals of their own demographic as inaccurate, rating the accuracy level as, on average, 5 or less on a 10-point scale. Those aging Americans who do feel that media accurately portrays them think about aging more than the average and have a higher level of fear about aging than their peers.