Aging is a natural process, but the phase brings in many issues, both physical and mental. Though advancements in medical science have increased the life span of people, there are certain undesirable and unavoidable problems that usually become a cause of physical decline in old age. Apart from physical problems, older adults are also vulnerable to develop mental problems.
The increasing cases of Alzheimer’s disease, stress, anxiety or various types of cancers during old age continue to baffle scientists, but many of these conditions can be prevented or tackled through positive outlook and a healthy lifestyle, says a recent study. The study by the North Carolina (NC) State University suggested that a positive attitude can have a huge impact on the overall physical and mental well-being of older adults. In fact, a healthy outlook can offer them sufficient strength to fight stressful situations.
Positive attitude in seniors linked to reduced illnesses
Various studies have come up with differing views regarding older adults. Some studies suggest that older adults are more resilient to stress, while few others say just the opposite. To demonstrate whether attitude toward aging was the root cause of the gap in results, the scientists reviewed 43 adults aged between 60 and 96 years.
The study titled “Negative Aging Attitudes Predict Greater Reactivity to Daily Stressors in Older Adults,” published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences in August 2016, required the participants to complete a questionnaire that continued for eight consecutive days. They were questioned about their attitude toward life and aging. They were asked whether they were given the same kind of responsibilities and tasks as given to them when they were young, and whether they were happy and were mentally prepared for a successful aging.
The questionnaire also focused on whether the older adults experienced any stress-related symptoms during the study period, and any negative emotion, comprising fear, irritability or stress, was also noted. On the whole, each individual was judged on personality type, feeling of happiness and optimism about everything in life, in contrast with despair and pessimism regarding aging.
The results revealed that a positive attitude in seniors was associated with reduced illnesses and longer life. People who are upbeat and hopeful about the aging process are more resilient to stress-related disorders and anxiety, than those who consider old age as a serious disability. The participants with negative emotions toward aging found coping with stress significantly difficult, the study said.
“Attitudes toward aging vary widely across cultures, and more work would need to be done to determine the importance of aging attitudes in other settings,” said Jennifer Bellingtier, a Ph.D. student at the NC State University, who led the study.
Stress and anxiety common among elderly
It is normal for an elderly to feel anxious about the deteriorating health or dwindling finances, but many a times constant stress can affect the quality of life. It can become a serious psychiatric disorder when disruptive and disabling thoughts do not fade away with time.
It is important for family members and caregivers to help the elderly tide over negative emotions by offering support and treatment. Older adults need to be monitored for any past traumatic situations that may produce a feeling of dread in them. A complete physical examination to rule out any underlying physical and mental ailment is also necessary to prevent drastic consequences of late-life anxiety disorders.
Help is available
The reason behind the sudden onset of anxiety in the elderly could be past traumatic events, separation from children or any medical condition. If you or your loved one is dealing with an anxiety disorder that demands immediate medical attention, contact the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California to know about one of the best anxiety disorders treatment centers in California. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 972-9459 or chat online to seek the best anxiety disorders treatment in California.