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Study shows "successful ageing"

4th January 2006

Growing older does not necessarily mean that you will lose your health, say the authors of a new report.

Despite all the concerns over the negative impact of old age on the body and the mind, elderly people can retain good health in their "80s and beyond".

The claims, outlined in a study by Dr Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer, call for a more positive approach to getting older and a more optimistic outlook for the older generation.

"Despite very serious illnesses that come with age, such as dementias, our study emphasises that many Americans are ageing well into their 80s and beyond and are enjoying healthy 'successful' ageing," Dr Welsh-Bohmer told Reuters Health.

Results from the study showed that almost 90 per cent of those aged between 65 and 74 were in good health, while the majority of those over 85 were still living an independent life.

Although the findings are based on American research, they can be used to promote a happier and healthier attitude to old age in the UK and to show that age is not the only factor to determine overall health.