Be sad than angry in old age

Image credit: asierromero

Aging brings along innumerable problems, one by one. With declining physical mobility and mental agility, most aged find it difficult to carry on with their regular activities as before. Emotionally, the impact of aging differs from person to person. Some may just resign to aging process by progressively reducing their activities, while some may get agitated for being unable to do what they want to do.

Old age also brings changes interpersonal and social relationships of a person. Some may get abandoned or ignored by their family members while some may become lonely after losing their dear ones. Even such scenarios impact different people differently. Some become sad, while some angry.

However, a new study by Concordia University claims anger is more damaging than sadness vis-à-vis physical health in old people. It was found that anger can result in chronic illness whereas sadness could help the aged adjust to the new challenges thrown up by aging.

The study involved analyzing data from 226 elderly people aged between 59 and 93. The participants were divided into two groups – old age (59-79 years) and advanced old age (80 years and above). The researchers examined how angry or sad they felt via questionnaire and measured inflammation via blood samples. Generally, inflammation helps protect the body and facilitates healing. But long-lasting inflammation may result in chronic illnesses in old people.

It was found that those who experienced anger daily had higher levels of inflammation as well as  chronic illness in the advanced old age group. However, it was not the case with those in the younger group as well as those who reported sadness.

According to the researchers, anger being an energizing emotion can help motivate people to work towards life goals. As such, younger seniors seem to be able to use anger as fuel to tackle emerging age-related losses and challenges, which can keep them healthier. Anger becomes problematic only when people get too old.

Hence, even if old, try to be as happy as possible and try to keep anger under check.


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