New research shows a strong connection between how we view old age, how well we age and the effects seen across world cultures.
At 85, Claude Copin, a retired French welder, may have discovered a secret to living a long, healthy life. She stays active by playing a pétanque game with friends in a Paris park. She has made friends with her teammates’ children, many of whom are teenagers. They take her to parties and movies—sometimes forgetting that she might need a rest before they do.
“I make my life beautiful,” says Copin. “I am still healthy because I have activities and I meet people.”
According to data collected by Orb Media, Copin is right. Individuals with a positive attitude towards old age are likely to live longer and in better health than those with a negative attitude. While those with a negative view of aging are more likely to suffer a heart attack, a stroke or die several years sooner.
Older people in countries with low levels of respect for the elderly are at risk for worse mental and physical health and higher levels of relative poverty.
Orb Media compiled data from 150,000 people in 101 countries to learn about their levels of respect for older people. The data show the level of respect varies significantly from country to country.
Healthy aging is increasingly important. “Outside of Africa, countries everywhere are aging rapidly. If population trends continue, by 2050 nearly one out of six people in the world will be over 65, and close to half a billion will be older than 80,” the report highlighted.