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You’re Only as Old as You Think You Are

As we grow older, we’re expected to put away childish things and act our age. But, what if acting your age has been the problem all along?

Dr. Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard, decided to see what would happen if she encouraged a group of eight 70-year old men to relive their youth. She converted a monastery into a 1950s home, complete with period-authentic phones, televisions and radios. The group was prompted to discuss events that occurred in the 50s, such as the launch of Sputnik, the idea being to relive these events as opposed to simply remembering them.

Mirrors were removed from the home, and everyone the subjects encountered treated them as young men. They were told to do their own chores, expected to serve themselves and offered no assistance.

The men were all healthy when they signed up for the experiment, with a few showing signs of memory loss, but researchers were amazed by what this 1950s vacation did for the seniors they were studying.

“At the end of the experiment, the aging men felt invigorated, looked younger, acted younger, sat and walked taller, had better dexterity, and even their eyesight improved,” reported Tim Gustafson for the SeattlePi. “While they were waiting for a bus to transport them back home, some even engaged in a spontaneous touch-football game, they were so jazzed about the experience.”

What does Dr. Langer’s experiment tell us about the aging process? That age is a perception. What aging Americans need to successfully age is a feeling of vitality. If seniors lived in a community that provided them with mental stimulation and offered them the opportunity to be physically independent, it might improve their minds and bodies as they age.

The Cottage at Curry Manor, offers Refined Residential Living with a focus on keeping our residents active mentally and physically. While our fixtures are modern, our goal is to help our residents reclaim their vitality in an environment where they are encouraged not to live well and have fun.

We offer classes, seminars and talks with local groups that keep our resident’s minds sharp. Gardening, music, culinary, and dramatic programs keep bodies vital and energized.

While it’s not possible to actually go back in time, Dr. Langer’s experiment proves that when it comes to aging, it’s all about your frame of mind. Experience a different take on aging by touring The Cottage today.

Posted on
November 5, 2021
Capital City Nurses