Elderly well-being: optimism and perceiving oneself younger

Daphna Magda Kalira, Amit Shrirab, Aya Ben-Eliezerd, Noemi Heymane, Inna Shugaevd, and Oleg Zaslavskyh. Feeling Younger, Rehabilitating Better: Reciprocal and Mediating Effects between Subjective Age and Functional Independence in Osteoporotic Fracture and Stroke Patients, Gerontology, Published online: May 25, 2022


The current study aimed to find reciprocal effects between subjective age and functional independence during rehabilitation from osteoporotic fractures and stroke and whether these effects can be mediated by indicators of well-being. Methods:Participants were 194 older adults (mean age = 78.32 years, SD = 7.37; 64.8% women) who were hospitalized following an osteoporotic fracture or stroke. Participants completed measures of subjective age and well-being (i.e., optimism, self-esteem, and life satisfaction) several times during rehabilitation. Functional Independence Measure (FIM) was completed by nursing personnel at admission and at discharge. Results:Younger subjective age at admission predicted higher FIM scores at discharge. The reverse effect, that is, of FIM scores at admission on subjective age at discharge, was nonsignificant. Optimism during hospitalization mediated the effect of subjective age on subsequent FIM scores while self-esteem and life satisfaction did not. Sensitivity analyses further showed that the effect of subjective age on FIM was significant for both fracture and stroke patients. Discussion: The findings highlight the effect of subjective age on rehabilitation outcomes among osteoporotic fractures and stroke patients and suggest several potential mechanisms behind this effect. Rehabilitation outcomes following osteoporotic fractures or strokes could improve if subjective age and an optimistic outlook are taken into consideration.

In summary: an optimistic mindset and perceiving oneself as younger are predictors of better recovery after fractures and strokes in older people.

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