“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” ― Sophia Loren.

Age is but a number, the adage goes, and new research published by Yale University puts scientific weight behind the saying.

Dr Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University, has a special research interest in ageing and mental health.

Levy has found that when older adults think of ageing as a positive experience — being about wisdom, self-realisation and satisfaction — they function at a higher level, live 7.5 years longer, are more likely to eat well, exercise and avoid vice.

It’s not only how we think about ageing but also how we use our brains once we get to retirement age that affects our perception of life.

As we age, not only can we still learn complex tasks, in most cases, we can retain our learning as well as a younger person, says Kori Miller, an education psychologist specialising in neuropsychology. Older adults also have the benefit of crystallised intelligence, Miller explains. This is one’s ability to combine learned knowledge with experience to tackle new problems. This form of intelligence grows with age.

A new study by researchers in Ireland reports that having a positive attitude about ageing may help prevent older adults from becoming frail, which in turn appears to keep their minds sharp.

On the flip side, the researchers confirmed that having negative attitudes about ageing affect both physical and cognitive health in later years.

Betty Friedan famously said, “Ageing is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” At Garlington Village, we celebrate this strength by encouraging autonomy, activity and interconnectedness. Most of all, we encourage our residents to enjoy quality of life, let their hair down and do the things they’ve always wanted to do. We think differently about ageing.

Every day is a good day to live life well. Retire happy in a lifestyle retirement village in the beautiful KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.