Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.98626″ width=”800″ height=”520″/>

The relationship between lifestyle factors and different cognitive categories. The figure is color-coded based on covariate similarity. Dark blue – factors related to financial difficulties, orange – factors that require more concentration, green – factors related to exercise, purple and light blue – age and education level, and shades of yellow – smoking and drinking. credit: Frontiers in the neuroscience of aging (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.98626

New research shows that older people may get better support as they age if their personalities are taken into account – for example, are they more like orchids or dandelions?

Researchers at Simon Fraser University’s Circle Innovation examined the potential impact of lifestyle on cognitive health in more than 3,500 adults aged 60+ and found that personality, using the orchid and dandelion metaphor in psychology, can be a factor in how well support programs work.

Their results, published this month in the journal Frontiers in the neuroscience of agingmake a case for politicians consider designing programs based on personality types rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

“These discoveries open up new opportunities to support aging adults and provide strong evidence for new social prescribing programs,” says Circle Innovation CEO and Chief Scientific Officer Sylvain Moreno. “Understanding how personality differences affect the aging population can help decision makers to provide elderly people with solutions that meet their individual needs.”

People who can be considered “adult orchids” thrive best in ideal conditions because they are more sensitive and biologically reactive, while “adult dandelions” are considered resilient and can easily adapt to any environment.

That means orchids may need more care solutions, the researchers say. “These seniors are more fragile, like the delicate flower they represent, and thus tend to overreact to current health and housing issues, troubling economic news or global pandemics,” says SFU’s Ph.D. student and researcher Emma Rodriguez. “On the other hand, dandelion retirees are relatively less sensitive to the environment and are also more resistant to deterioration under poor environmental conditions.”

“The lesson here is that we need to stop compartmentalizing aging adults into one group in our population. These results demonstrate how aging trajectories can differ depending on whether a person is influenced by the environment.”

According to the researchers, understanding how modifiable lifestyle factors can support or contribute cognitive health can lead to a healthier aging population.

Social isolation and anxiety in cognitively impaired older adults

Additional information:
Emma A. Rodriguez et al. Is Cognitive Aging Following the Orchid and Dandelion Phenomenon?, Frontiers in the neuroscience of aging (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.98626. … agi.2022.986262/full

Citation: Healthy Aging Requires Understanding Personality Types (2022, October 11) Retrieved October 11, 2022 from

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