Old age is a state of mind, study says

LONDON - A new study suggests that age is a state of mind, and if you think of yourself as old and frail, your perception may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But seniors who have a more positive attitude about their age stay more socially active and enjoy a greater quality of life, despite having equal levels of physical weakness, the study found.

Lead researcher Krystal Warmoth and colleagues at University of Exeter Medical School interviewed 29 older adults living in England about their views on ageing and frailty.

Findings also showed that perceiving oneself as frail tended to lead to ceasing activities such as exercise that could reduce the likelihood of frailty.

According to an announcement from the researchers, one respondent summed it up by saying, "If people think that they are old and frail, they will act like they're old and frail."

How to avoid this happening to you? Don't get caught in what the researchers describe as a "cycle of decline," and stay active and keep your brain engaged. Prior research shows that staying active and social into your golden years can help keep you agile, strong, and mentally sharp.

Warmoth presented her findings this week at the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in Harrogate, in the UK.