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Mental Function Myth and Fact

Have you ever heard the expression, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Unfortunately, this saying perpetuates the myth that once we reach a certain age, it is too late to challenge ourselves and learn new things, however, scientists say the opposite. Our capacity to grow and learn continues throughout our lives.  According to research on successful aging, three factors predict strong mental function as we age:

  1. Regular physical activity.
    Exercise is crucial to keeping our bodies young. Regular, purposeful movement strengthens muscles and bones, helps reduce weight gain, boosts mood, helps maintain balance, and improves brain function.
  2. A strong social support system.
    Loneliness can be detrimental to older adults. It may have as much of a negative impact on the body as smoking and obesity. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you to be your best self and support your successful aging journey.
  3. Belief in our own ability to handle what life has to offer.
    Also known as “resilience,” the capacity to handle and bounce back from challenging situations is crucial to our success. If you find yourself struggling to stay positive during challenging times, reach out to a friend, colleague, or therapist for help harnessing your own strengths.


Are you ready to improve your mental function? At Acacia Creek, a Masterpiece Living Certified Center for Successful Aging, and retirement community, we believe that having a positive outlook is an important part of all wellness categories – intellectual, social, physical, and purposeful. Prepare to succeed by considering the following questions and journaling your answers:

  • Are you currently engaging in all three factors that are strong predictors for mental function later in life?
  • How will you continue to challenge yourself to meet each of the three predictors?
  • Do you have the willingness right now to grow and learn in different areas of your life? Where are the opportunities that challenge yourself?
  • Who can you turn to for support in your successful aging journey? What guidance and mentorship might you offer in return?


Remember: Each of us has the capacity to learn, grow, and improve ourselves throughout our lives, no matter our age. We just need the willingness to take the right steps.

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