Here are some common aging myths and stereotypes that you should not pay heed to. These myths can have an unhealthy effect on our daily lives.
These aging myths will just cause you unnecessary feelings of anger and instill fear in your head.
In fact, a recent study conducted by Michael Inzlicht found that through various surveys, stereotyping and prejudices can definitely have a lasting, negative impact.
Did you know that there are many hurtful stereotypes surrounding growing old?
Almost like racism, ageism involves discriminating against individuals due to their age. Unfortunately, ageism is the leading cause of job loss, neglect, and even violence. Let’s consider a few of the most common aging myths stereotypes and expose their reality.
Common Aging Myths
Dementia is Inevitable
Older age is often associated with outlandish behavior, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and memory loss.
Many people are under the impression that as soon as you hit a certain age, Dementia will most certainly set in. Although Dementia is a very real sickness, it actually only impacts about 8 percent of the elderly population.
Forgetfulness is human nature, but it is often reserved only for the elderly. Ask me, I always forget where I leave my keys. The reality is, we are all prone to forgetting dates, deadlines, and even names. It is simply unfair to label all elderly people as Dementia candidates.
Older People Lack Intelligence
Sure, older age comes with certain limitations, but sharpness is certainly not one of them.
As we grow older, our ability to learn never changes, but the way in which we learn things sometimes needs to be altered. Many older people use their free time to learn a new language, engage in a new hobby, or even learn a new skill.
The mentality that all older people lack basic common sense is both hurtful and ignorant. Many make attempts to take advantage of older people through manipulation or physical violence.
It’s sad that 1 in 3 elderly people are reportedly harmed physically or even conned out of their lifelong savings. It’s not because they are stupid, they are just targeted by highly professional criminals.
With age comes great wisdom from the past experiences they’ve endured. Not every older person is staring blindly into space. Most are just as witty, sharp, and quick as any younger person!
Achy And Creaky Joints Are Unavoidable
Believe it or not, not exercising is what makes achy joints inevitable.
When Australian researchers at the Monash University Medical School looked at women ages 40 to 67, they found that those who exercised at least once every two weeks for 20 minutes or more had more cartilage in their knees than those who didn’t.
This study suggests that being physically active made us less likely to develop arthritis in later years.
Old People Are Incompetent
This is one of the biggest aging myths of all. Especially as most people are capable of carrying on working well past the cut off date of age 65 if they prefer.
Elderly people that continue to challenge their brains, exercise their bodies and feed their soul with religion and spiritual beliefs are perfectly competent well into their senior years.
Even as they age and experience some memory loss or dementia, many elderly people retain abilities to understand, make rational decisions and participate in and simply enjoy life!
You Lose Your Social Life
The most common myth about aging is that making human connections suddenly stops. Many believe you have no desire to make friends and you can forget about romantic interests.
Although many would cringe at the thought of their grandmother expressing physical intimacy, many still have that need! The need for human connections whether romantic or platonic never leaves us. There are a few older individuals who still date and even marry at 70!
Another misconception is that as soon as you reach a certain age, your social calendar is eliminated. It’s no secret that you begin to slow down physically with age. But, that does not mean your social life has to! Many clubs, retirement communities, and even nursing homes have fun activities for older people to engage in.
In fact, many older people have a busier life than some teenagers! As mentioned, that need for human connection doesn’t suddenly disappear with age. You still want to have fun and remain fulfilled. Sure, the type of fun you engage in may change, but the fun never stops.
Bad Genes Mean Aging Badly
Untrue. Even if you’re born with the healthiest set of genes, how you live your life determines how they behave over your lifespan.
Your genes can be changed by what you eat, how much physical activity you get, and even your exposure to chemicals and other outside factors.
All Older People Go to Nursing Homes
Not every older person needs round the clock care. Many are able to live independently or with family members. They are able to tend to their own needs without the assistance of others.
Sure, nursing homes provide a sense of community for elderly people along with trustworthy caregivers, but it is not a given.
However, these establishments are not guaranteed for every person as they age. That’s like saying every teenager will eventually go to college. Some choose alternative routes that given them the necessary fulfillment.
Old People Don’t Like Change
This is a personal preference. I am almost 50 and I am a sucker for routine, but many older people enjoy the newness and thrill of change, while others may be more apprehensive about change.
However, this is not an age-related issue. Elderly people have faced countless challenges and situations of change by the time they reach a certain age, so while they may be a bit slower to adapt, they are capable of change.
Age Means Automatic Death
Although death is certain when it comes to aging, there are many people living well into their 100’s with both a healthy mind and spirit.
Young people also die.
In addition, the myth that all older people are obsessed with death is false. As you age, you acquire wisdom that gives you a peace of mind and accept what is.
Mindfulness is essential because you cannot change certain ailments like death. Many older people live each day much like younger people do lacking the unhealthy obsession with death.
Generalizing an entire group of individuals is hurtful and not accurate. Not every older person ages the same, and many hold onto their youth well into their 80’s and 90’s.
By openly talking about the aging process with clarity, we can work together to eliminate the harmful aging myths surrounding our old age.