Photograph by Julia Gerace
Our society promotes ageism—from 20-somethings who often show zero interest in people over 40—to yes, even senior citizens. You may have heard your own parents say “I don’t want to eat there. That restaurant is filled with old people!” Yale University professor Dr. Becca Levy says our society’s ageist beliefs are impacting our ability to lead productive, healthy lives. She believes all the negative messages can also impact life span. Examining various cultures and outliers around the world, she’s conducted research that shows if we can shift our attitudes about aging, it will foster positive beliefs which will, in turn, improve our health in later years and quality of life. Her new book, Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live, zeros in on the psychology of aging, showing how people can improve their health—countering dementia as well as some cardio issues—by simply shifting their outlooks.