Positive Thinking Leads to Healthier Older Adults

The findings of the Yale School of Public Health show that elderly patients who adopt positive ideas about aging are 44 percent more likely to recuperate from physical disabilities than those who maintain negative conceptions about old people.

The Yale Daily News published recent research of findings suggesting that elderly patients recover from disabilities when positive stereotypes about aging are bolstered. The study appeared online in The Journal of the American Medical Association on Nov. 21.

The news source quoted Yale's Becca Levy, the study’s lead researcher, “I’m interested in how we can overcome ageism in medicine, and I wanted to see whether these stereotypes have an impact on patients.”

Participants with a disability and who held positive beliefs about old people were 44 percent more likely to recover than patients with a negative stereotype of aging.

“This is an impressive study in that it has a truly rich, longitudinal data set with very few gaps,” project statistician Terrence Murphy told The Yale Daily. “We think the results are very promising and encouraging and show that mindset may be associated with recovery in elderly patients.”

These results would seem highly applicable to the overall happiness and well-being of residents in Assisted Living and Continuing Care residences.