There are many myths around aging, and older people often face stereotypes related to their age. But most of these myths are just that: myths. As you know, aging can be quite different from the common stereotypes. So let’s address a few of them.
Myth #1: Aging is Depressing
Many people assume depression goes along with aging. But there is a wide variety of studies showing seniors are often happier than other age groups. This common misconception leads to the idea that seniors are grumpy, but as with most other human characteristics, it all depends on the individual.
People who are unhappy in their younger years will likely continue to be the same throughout their later years just as happier individuals will continue to be happy as they age. Remember, attitudes come down to personalities, not ages.
Myth #2: Aging Leads to Loneliness
Social isolation can be an issue for seniors, and even a great fear as people age. This is especially true for those with limited mobility, lack of transportation, or those who have been widowed. But in general, loneliness isn’t as common as you’d think.
There are many activities seniors can take part in to continue an active social life while aging, and even more so in some cases with more free time in retirement. Providing support as a family or friend is an important part of helping your aging loved ones remain socially engaged.
Myth #3: Aging Makes You Unproductive
While people often retire out of the workforce as they age, that doesn’t mean they are unproductive or inactive. Many seniors play active roles in volunteer and community organizations. Others help with childminding for other family members or friends, or take on hobbies to stay busy. These activities can quickly become a full-time commitment and can do a great deal to help seniors feel productive and busy. Or how about trying a yoga class?
Myth #4: Aging Dulls Your Wits and Causes Dementia
While aging can cause cognitive changes, they are not always negative. Many older people perform better in certain areas than they did previously. It’s very common for seniors to maintain their same wit and sharp mind no matter how old. Just look at Barbara Bush!
While dementia commonly occurs in older people, age is not the only factor involved. Many people age gracefully and do not experience any symptoms of dementia. It’s important to recognize that genetics and other factors contribute significantly to whether someone suffers from dementia or not.
Myth #5: Aging Makes it Difficult to Adapt to New Situations
Change is hard, but that is no more true for someone in their 80s than their 20s. While flexibility is often cited as a reason youth are able to change, the experience that older people bring to a changing world is invaluable. Change is a constant in life and always has been. Older people have been adapting to change their whole lives.
What other myths should we add to this list? Share this article to show others how misunderstood the experience of aging can be.