When was the last time you felt your age? Your answer could mean more than you think.
A study on aging discovered that older people feel about 13 years younger than they really are. As the New York Times said best: “70 is the new 57.”
While everyone gets older, not everyone feels their age. It’s called “subjective age”, and it describes how individuals feel younger or older than the age written on their birth certificate.
Over 500 people between the ages of 70 and 104 were surveyed as part of the Berlin Aging Study in Germany. As such, participants were asked how old they typically feel compared to their actual age. The study found the average gap between subjective age and true age is 13 years, and widened for particularly healthy and active study participants.
There might just be something to staying young at heart.
Another study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience claims they are the first to find a link between subjective age and brain aging. By Using MRI brain scans, researchers found a difference in the amount of healthy grey matter in the brains of seniors who feel younger than their age versus those who feel older.
The study also found that seniors who had a younger subjective age were more likely to score higher on memory tests, considered their health to be overall better, and were less likely to report depressive symptoms.
The findings suggest elderly people who feel younger than their age show fewer signs of brain aging, and those who feel older than their age should consider caring for their brain health.
Like a muscle, the brain should be exercised and challenged in new ways to stay sharp.
Whether by trying new experiences, learning a new language, or challenging skill, when process unfamiliar information, we make new neural pathways between brain cells. This builds “brain plasticity” and improves our ability to understand information.
One unconventional way to try new things is to meet different people, and to build lasting relationships outside of our families.
There are plenty of ways to become part of the growing iGen community. From events like Tea-And-Tech help at local coffee shop Haven Books and Café to trying “homesharing,” staying young-at-heart doesn’t have to mean spending money, but rather, spending time together.
Recently, intergenerational homesharing has become popular among both students and seniors for many beneficial reasons, and is launching in Ottawa this September.
Homesharing refers to the concept of intergenerational living, where seniors who own their homes and have spare bedrooms share their space with a young person, such as a student or recent graduate
One highlight of homesharing is the unique experience of sharing a home with someone from another generation. Different meals, interesting conversations, and help with new technology.
Would you consider the new experience of sharing your home with a student?
By connecting mature students with senior citizens, homesharing reduces the cost of living for students while offering a helping hand and companionship to seniors living alone. It’s also a dynamic shared experience of learning, unlikely companionship, and a burgeoning community in the Nation’s Capital.
Who would have thought? Staying youthful is the best kept secret to growing old.
Do you know someone interested in trying something new in their every-day life? Now accepting applications for our Ottawa launch!
For more information, find us online.