Successful Aging and Longevity in Older Old Women: The Role of Depression and Cognition

Department of Psychology and Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202-3801, USA.
Journal of aging research 07/2011; 2011:912680. DOI: 10.4061/2011/912680
Source: PubMed


Based in successful aging theory and terminal cognitive drop research, this paper investigates cerebrovascular burden (CVB), depressive symptoms, and cognitive decline as threats to longevity. A subsample of stroke-free women over the age of 80 was identified in the Health and Retirement Survey (years 2000-2008). Mortality at 2, 6, and 8 year intervals was predicted using CVB (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension), depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale), and cognitive decline (decline of 1 standard deviation or more on the 35-point Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status over 2 years). At most waves (2002, 2004, and 2006) mortality was predicted by CVB, depressive symptoms, and cognitive drop measured 2 years prior. CVB and depressive symptoms at the 2000 wave predicted mortality at 6 and 8 years. Older women with the greatest longevity had low CVB, robust cognitive functioning, and few depression symptoms, supporting successful aging theory and terminal cognitive drop.

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