Researchers followed 2432 individuals for 10 years, evaluated their lifestyle and personality, and classified them into one of four groups at the end of the study. By the study’s end, 8% were the ‘thrivers’, who maintained exceptional health with no or only mild disability; 47% were ‘nonthrivers’, who experienced a moderate or severe disability; there were also 36% who were deceased and 9% who were institutionalized.
Upon examining the traits of those who thrived into old age, they found that some factors were able to be controlled. While baseline age and socioeconomic status made a difference, for example, so did psychosocial and behavioral factors: optimists and those who managed stress well, as well as those who didn’t smoke or drink in excess, tended to thrive!
"Many of these factors can be modified when you are young or middle-aged," said David Feeny, Ph.D., study co-author and senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, in a press release. "While these findings may seem like common sense, now we have evidence about which factors contribute to exceptional health during retirement years."
Healthy stress management and even the development of an optimistic outlook on life can—and should—be developed starting today, and you can be one of the fortunate few who will truly thrive in the present day and well into the future. Below are some resources that can lead you to a healthier lifestyle today and a better chance of thriving, like my grandparents!
Resources To Help You Thrive:
Kaplan MS, Huguet N, Orpana H, Feeny D, McFarland BH, Ross N. Prevalence and factors associated with thriving in older adulthood: a 10-year population-based study. The Journals of Gerontology , October 2008.
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