Did you know that seniors with a cynical distrust of others may be at an increased risk of developing dementia? An elder’s state of mind may be an indicator of their future state of mind. Doctors have always suspected that negative emotions, such as depression or pessimism were possibly damaging to long-term mental health. But, according to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, late-life cynical distrust may be associated with higher mortality as well as an increased risk of senility.
In the latest research on cynicism, seniors with high levels of distrust were 2.5 times more likely to develop dementia. Older people who maintain a strong sense of community and stay involved socially seem to be rewarded with a better mental outlook when compared with those who belief is that most people are only out for themselves. Researchers believe that seniors who are optimistic and enjoy company of others are likely better equipped to maintain strong feelings of happiness as they age.
Future research will be needed to determine why seniors in good spirits are able to focus on their personal achievements in lieu of constantly involving themselves with cynical distrust of others. One possible link is that older people with a more optimistic attitude are healthier and tend to eat better, exercise more often and avoid excessive alcohol consumption and smoking. These things along with maintaining a positive attitude can help to strengthen their immune system, leading to less problems with chronic disease and decreased levels of pain.
We know that older people who are in good spirits tend to sleep and eat better than those who are not. What will need to be determined is how much of the cynical behavior is related to the person’s genetic makeup. Nonetheless, encouraging a senior member of your family to stay socially active, eat right, and exercise every day may in turn lend itself to positive thinking, a better attitude and improved sense of happiness.