It's the life in your years, not the years in your life — COMMENTARY

Brian W. Leonard
2019 Figshare  
AGE IDENTITY AND COGNITION IN OLD AGEWe read with great interest the research report by M.H. Schafer and T.P. Shippee in the January 2010 issue of The Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences (Schafer & Shippee, 2010). The authors contribute several key findings to the literature on age identity in middle-aged to younger-old subjects (55-74 years), perhaps the most important being that younger age identities lead to more optimistic per- sonal dispositions about cognitive aging. Over the past
more » ... g. Over the past three years, we have anecdotally noted a similar phe- nomenon, in which subjects in our research program on healthy aging (O'Connor, et al., 2009; O'Connor, et al., 2015) report feeling much younger than their chronologi- cal age. We would like to use this commentary to report preliminary findings that compliment and extend the authors' conclusions on age identity in healthy older individuals, those in their 80s, 90s, and 100s. In particu- lar, we present new data about actual cognitive perfor- mance and age identity in our group of very old subjects (Leonard, et al., 2010).In summary, similar to the Schafer and Shippee study (Schafer & Shippee, 2010), our preliminary data on age identity in the oldest of old individuals show that feeling much younger than one's chronological age translates into a better disposition about one's cognitive abilities. Here, and elsewhere, we also suggest that a younger age identity is more powerful: it translates into better objectively measured cognitive function (Leonard, et al., 2010; 2011), showing, perhaps, that what counts toward successful aging is the "life" in your years (Ryff, 1989).© 2011 Brian W. Leonard
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.10320794 fatcat:phevznk4unfq3hoouwxixzfbvi