Doctors at Rush University Medical Center followed 900 older adults and found that those who believed their lives had meaning were less likely to suffer mental decline. They were also more than twice as likely to remain free of dementia.
People who feel their lives had meaning tend to focus on what new accomplishments they could achieve.
Doctors say the next step is to test whether you can give someone a sense of purpose by helping them examine their contributions and outlining new goals.
There is more on this report in the Archives of General Psychiatry.