HOW DO YOU #AGEUP?
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Here are a few research findings that might surprise you: • Belief in negative age stereotypes can predict certain biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease (Levy et al 2016).1 • Both positive and negative age stereotypes can have respectively beneficial and negative effects on health behaviors, attitudes, and overall health of older adults (Dionigi 2015)2 • Older adults treated negatively have shorter life spans (Hellweg 2015)3 • Age stereotypes held earlier in life predict cardiovascular events later in life (Levy 2009)4
PRIMING OURSELVES TO AGEUP "Priming" is a mechanism used in psychological research where exposure to words or images regarding a specific topic can influence behavior. In other words, activating stereotypes in peoples’ minds can lead them to behave in certain ways. For example, in one study, when college students were exposed to words which were suggestive of negative aging stereotypes, they performed tasks more slowly and made more mistakes. While this is interesting within the confines of a research lab, more global health implications have also been associated with conscious and unconscious messaging around age stereotypes. For our AgeUp team, the really exciting part of this research is: the internalization of positive messages around aging has positive consequences on health and well-being.
Our mission at Bayview has always been to elevate the lives of our elders. In light of what we are now learning, we realize this is even more relevant than we thought. As our AgeUp task force began to explore the research, we realized that we needed to know if the work we are doing is making a positive impact. If so, can our work be replicated such that others can benefit as well? To this end, we’ve partnered with our neighbor on the other side of Queen Anne Hill, Seattle Pacific University. Stay tuned as we report on our progress, our findings and our results. In the meantime, watch for upcoming AgeUp issues to learn more about shifting mindsets so we can all experience the fullest, healthiest, most meaningful life at any stage.
1) Levy, B.R., Ferrucci, L., Zonderman, A.B., Slade, M.D., Troncoso, J., Resnick, S.M. (2016). A culture-brain link: Negative age stereotypes predict Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. Psychology of Aging, 31 (1), pp 82-88. doi: 10.1037/pag0000062. Epub 2015 Dec 7 2) Dionigi, R.A. (2015). Stereotypes of Aging: Their Effects on the Health of Older Adults. Journal of Geriatrics, Volume 2015, Article ID 954027, 9 pages 3) Hellweg, B. (2015, Feb 24). Negative age stereotypes getting worse over time. Cited from Yale Daily News website: http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/02/24/ negative-age-stereotypes-getting-worse-over-time/ 4) Levy, B.R., Zonderman, A.B., Slade, M.D., Ferrucci, L. (2009). Age Stereotypes Held Earlier in Life Predict Cardiovascular Events in Later Life. Psychological Science, 20 (3), pp. 296-298
(Previously known as Change Agent Newsletter)