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11 recommendations for successful ageing

1. Cultivate your friendships.
Social belonging prevents mental illness and can protect against depression. Therefore, take enough space and time to cultivate your social contacts also beyond your family.

2. Continue to educate yourself.
Continuing to learn and educate yourself prevents mental deterioration in old age and is associated with better memory performance. Seize the opportunity to continue learning even after school.

3. Live a healthy life.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Pay attention to a healthy lifestyle. It will pay off especially in the old age. A little effort is already enough. Try to exercise regularly, live on a healthy diet and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. 

4. Find your calling.
Having the opportunity to pursue a profession in which you can develop and be independent, and which you enjoy will have a positive effect on your mental abilities in old age.

5. Keep up your faith.
According to studies, prayers, religious engagement and meditating regularly do not only have a positive impact on physical and psychological well-being, but also on memory performance in old age.

6. Be mindful of your emotions.
Anxiety and stress can reduce memory performance. This can, in turn, cause anxiety. Try to interrupt this vicious circle by practising mindfulness through meditation or similar exercises, or by using relaxation techniques aimed at reducing anxiety.

7. Preparation is not everything, but it is key. 
A positive conception of age and conscious preparation for old age in different areas of life can help you cope better in old age and prepare you for age-related losses or changes.

8. Formulate clear objectives and plans for your future.
Concrete objectives help you prepare for later stages of life and allow you to shape these stages in an active and fulfilling way. 

9. Find serenity.
Accepting your own strengths and weaknesses and practising to stay calm can reduce the mortality risk.

10. Take a positive attitude towards ageing and cultivate it alone and together with your partner.
A shared vision of ageing has an impact on health as well as on the future physical limitations that couples face.

11. Do not allow others to compartmentalise you.
Negative stereotypes about age do not necessarily have to have a negative impact on your health. Try to cope with problems and critical incidents in an active way.

Summarised by the participants in our seminar “Psychologische Determinanten der Vorbereitung aufs Alter” (determining psychological factors in preparing for old age) in the summer semester of 2021. The source literature is available here.