Magazine article USA TODAY

Key Factors in Healthy Aging

Magazine article USA TODAY

Key Factors in Healthy Aging

Article excerpt

The secret to adapting successfully to a ripe old age may be as simple as talking daily with friends and meeting change without fear, a Purdue University study of relatively healthy people aged 85 and older revealed. "No one thing contributes to healthy aging," says Peg Krach, associate professor in the School of Nursing. "One of the big points of doing the study was to learn about healthy aging from those who are doing it fairly well. These "master survivors' are our teachers."

Krach and her colleagues studied 34 women and 16 men who had fairly strong mental capabilities and were living in their own or relatives' homes. The mean age was 89; the oldest subject was 97. They found that the factors which had a correlation to healthy aging included level of activity, such as participation in a church or being aware of political issues; ability to adapt to change and rebound from difficult situations; how the subjects viewed themselves physically and mentally; and frequency of contact with friends and family.

The subjects said rolling with life's changes was important, Krach notes. "Many of them have lost children and spouses. …

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