Facts About Aging

We all age and yet what many people think they know about aging and older people is just not true. So what are the facts about aging? What is true and what is false? What many people think are facts about aging are really just myths.

“The belief that youth is the happiest time of life is founded on a fallacy. The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts, and we grow happier as we grow older.”           William Lyon Phelps

Myth one:  As we age we become more alike. In fact, we become more of who we are as individuals, more open to speaking our minds, more open to  possibilities. As we age, we become less like our peers than younger people are like their peers. Some people are “old” at 60 and others are “young” at 80. Everyone ages physically and emotionally at different rates, so the longer we live, the more chance there is for change.

Myth two: Older people are not interested in sex. Research has found that sexual activity and enjoyment continue for many as they age. At any age, people with good health and a willing partner are more likely to engage in sexual relations.

Myth three: Older people are stuck in their ways, resistant to change, and unable to adapt to new situations. The opposite is true. Older people must adjust to many changes throughout their lives and they carry that ability with them as they age.

Myth four: Old people are senile. To become “senile’’ actually means to age or grow old. But the word, senile, has come to mean demented. Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It’s a disease that affects the brain and nervous system.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia. While it is a devastating disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people, most people don’t have it. But people are living longer and the longer a person lives, the more chance there is that they will develop it.

Myth five: Older people are not productive or creative. In reality, many older people have the freedom after retirement to develop their creative side. Retired people have the time to volunteer, start new businesses, take classes and workshops, or take up an artistic interest. Most older people remain active and productive throughout their lives.

Myth six: Older people can’t learn new skills. As we age, some skills take longer or are more difficult to learn. There are differences in learning rates and styles between age groups, but it’s a myth to say older people have difficulty learning. Many retired people enjoy taking classes, pursuing interests, and learning how to navigate the Internet for information.

Myth seven: Older people are cranky. There are cranky people of any age. If people were difficult to get along with when young, chances are they’ll be difficult to get along with when older. The ability to adapt to change throughout life is a factor.

Myth eight:: All old people are lonely. Living a long time can bring about loss and isolation, but the majority have close contact with family and have developed long-standing relationships with friends. Volunteering is on the list of activities for a huge number of older people, with the opportunity to interact with others.

Myth nine: Most older people are religious. People don’t grow more religious as they age, but they grew up in a time when more people went to church. If religious training began at an early age it may remain important to them throughout their lives.

Myth ten: The last years are the golden years. It’s not all a bed of roses or happy times, at any age. While most older people are living independent, happy, and healthy lives, not all older people look at the latter years as “golden”. Too many suffer in old age from poverty, hunger, isolation, grief, physical decline, and loss of friends. Not everyone is able to cope. Suicide rates are higher for people over 65, particularly among single men, than for younger people.

More facts about aging: Our culture has mixed emotions about growing older. People have the desire to live longer, but age is often treated as something to ridicule or be embarrassed about. In reality, aging is a natural process we all go through and those who have weathered all the changes, the ups an downs, the wins and losses, and made the contributions, should be honored and respected.

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Become your best self !
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