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50+: Live Better, Longer

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Elders Reveal Keys to Healthy Aging

Good Moods, Sharp Vision, Healthy Hearing All Help, Study Shows
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 5, 2006 -- If you're living, you're aging, but that's not such a bad thing, a new study shows.

The study of nearly 3,500 men and women age 65 and older started a decade ago and is still going. Here's what the researchers have learned so far:

  • Most people -- even after age 85 -- still lived independently and reported being in excellent or good health.
  • People with good vision, good hearing, and good moods viewed their health favorably.
  • Having close ties to family and friends is also a plus.

The bottom line: Aging brings change, but not necessarily a dismal, lonely decline.

The study appears online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.-->

Healthy Elders

Aging isn't what it's cracked up to be, the study shows.

"Older people are healthy," says researcher Truls Ostbye, MD, PhD, in a news release. Ostbye is a professor in Duke University's department of community and family medicine.

"We hear a lot about disease and disability among the elderly, but the quality of life in older individuals is actually, by most measures used, high up to the oldest of age," Ostbye says.

That's not to say that aging is a piece of cake.

Many serious health problems -- including high blood pressure, cancer, and stroke -- become more common with age. Vision, hearing, and memory often fade, and personal losses or isolation can bring depression late in life (or any time).

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