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Taking the steps toward successful aging

February 26, 2013

Regardless of what route they take during retirement, chances are most seniors are concerned with successful aging. This concept often manifests itself in many different ways, and older adults can still enjoy successful aging even if they run into health problems, because experts say that their attitude often plays the biggest role, reports

Dr. Dilip Jeste, an aging expert from the American Psychiatric Association, says there are three components that are critical for successful senior living. Specifically, he points to resilience, optimism and absence of depression play the biggest roles. The presence of these three factors could help explain why some seniors experience an increased quality of life even if they have health problems.

"The most surprising result we found was the paradox of aging - i.e., as physical health declined with aging, self-rated successful aging scores seemed to increase," Jeste told the website. "Our findings showed that physical health was neither necessary nor sufficient for feeling good about one's own aging."

Of course, recognizing the keys to successful aging and applying them are two different things. There are several steps seniors can take to help them on their way to feeling good about their quality of life, especially as it relates to their mental health.

Depression affects as many as 6.5 million adults 65 and older, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness. However, there are many ways to combat the condition. Certain exercises, such as tai chi, have proven to be particularly helpful, but any kind of physical activity can be beneficial. Remaining socially engaged is also crucial, because people with stronger social networks are often more resilient and better able to cope with anxiety, according to The Huffington Post.