Myths of Aging
Myth: Aging Makes You Grumpy
This could not be further from the truth! Many studies have found that seniors are among the happiest age group. Happiness levels by age tend to follow a U-shaped curve, with happiness increasing after the age 40. Many believe that getting older means they need to be grumpy, but those who are happy will continue on that trajectory. Of course, one’s attitude depends on an individual’s personality, not an overall age group.
Myth: Aging Leads to Loneliness
Most seniors are able to stay engaged with friends and families. Loneliness can be a problem for seniors, especially if they have to overcome obstacles like limited mobility, lack of transportation, or loss, but most seniors are able to stay social. Seniors and their caregivers must be proactive about this socialization, making sure seniors visit friends and families and attend activities at places like senior centers or religious centers.
Myth: Aging Decreases Wit
Aging can lead to cognitive changes, but can still perform strongly in certain areas of intelligence. Seniors tend to have slower reaction times but their accumulation of knowledge and experience often leads to a higher intelligence. Seniors test better on verbal ability and knowledge. Studies also show that seniors tend to look at things from multiple perspectives, which leads to more creative problem solving than others.
Myth: Aging Leads to Less Productivity
Although many seniors have retired and left the workforce, they are anything but unproductive. Older works have a strong work ethic, and they strive to put that to use. Seniors choose to spend their time contributing lots of hours volunteering and giving their time back to the community. A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that 24% of senior citizens engage in volunteer work after retirement.
Myth: Aging Makes You Less Flexible in New Situations
Many people are tempted to view seniors as old fashioned and unable to adapt to new situations. However, seniors have gone through many changes in their lifetime and have had to learn how to adapt to new situations and transitions in their life, not all of which have been easy. Not all seniors adapt to situations at the same pace, but the ability to roll with life’s punches is something seniors understand more than anyone else.
Myth: Aging Decreases Your Libido
There seems to be a certain sense of secrecy around the love and sex lives of seniors. This lack of conversation is hurtful because it may lead seniors to believe that they are alone in whatever they’re feeling about their love lives. This taboo quiet around the love lives of seniors is just wrong and harmful. Research has shown that sexual activity and enjoyment doesn’t decrease as people age.
Myth: Aging Decreases your Physical Capabilities
Exercise is important to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s just as important that seniors work out as it is for any other age group. It’s important to work out within your abilities, whether that means walking, water aerobics, yoga, or another form of exercise. Physical activity will strengthen your bones and muscles, which is increasingly important as you age. And remember: it’s never too late to start working out.
Myth: Dementia is Inevitable as You Age
Only about 5% of seniors have been diagnosed with dementia. Memory tends to suffer as you age, but dementia or Alzheimer’s should not be the first answer. Dementia is not inevitable as you age, and science is beginning to show some preventative measures you can take earlier on in your life. Some risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity may contribute to memory loss diseases. If you take the steps to control these things, this may decrease your chances of dementia or Alzheimer’s later on.