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Rethinking Aging

Last update on: Feb 02 2017
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Things improve and life gets better as we age, according to new research cited in The Wall Street Journal. (Subscription might be required.) In addition to higher life satisfaction, many older people are able to use knowledge and certain types of intelligence to offset the age-related cognitive decline. The stereotypical older person who is grumpy, lonely, depressed, and obsessed with health problems is no more than 10% of the older population, according to one person quoted. The article addresses six myths about aging and the research that contradicts them.

In fact, a growing body of evidence indicates that our moods and overall sense of well-being improve with age. Friendships tend to grow more intimate, too, as older adults prioritize what matters most to them, says Karen Fingerman, a professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Other academics have found that knowledge and certain types of intelligence continue to develop in ways that can even offset age-related declines in the brain’s ability to process new information and reason abstractly. Expertise deepens, which can enhance productivity and creativity. Some go so far as to say that wisdom—defined, in part, as the ability to resolve conflicts by seeing problems from multiple perspectives—flourishes.

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