An article from Psychology Today – apparently how we grow old is up to us:

A 2002 Yale University study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who have a positive perception of aging tend to live seven and a half years longer than those who don’t. The difference may be the result of a better response to stress or even just the will to live, according to the study.

Between the ages of 30 and 90, the brain loses about 10 percent of its volume. Forgetfulness isn’t an automatic result, however. Scientists have found that loss of brain cells due to aging isn’t as steep as once thought. In fact, they now believe memory problems aren’t a natural part of growing older. Studies have shown that people with bad memories as older adults probably had the same deficiency when they were younger. But later in life, we may attribute it to aging.

Crossword puzzles, practicing the piano and playing chess exercise the brain, counteracting these natural changes. Exercise helps cognitive function too, studies show.