As we all get older it is only normal to look upon the future with questions and even some apprehension. However in today’s society there are many misconceptions about what will occur as we grow older and how our life and even happiness will be affected.
Given today’s accessibility of information, scientific developments and breakthroughs it is truly baffling that when it comes to something as natural and inevitable as aging there are so many misconceptions.
Below you can see some of the common myths and the truth behind these.
Whilst growing old might not always be easy, it is nothing that should be dreaded or even feared. Like everything in life, all that needs to be done is identifying the issues and coming up with a good response plan and most of all to keep an open mind and a positive attitude along the way!
1.Depression is more common among the elderly
Research has found that depression in the 55+ age group is a lot lower than in the 18-25 or 26-49 year olds.
Further Depression is treatable. It is all about admitting that there might be an issue and talking to a doctor and gets the right treatment.
Ignoring the signs of depression can have large impacts not only on the enjoyment of life, but can also increase the possibility of developing memory and learning problems and increase the risk of death from diseases such as Parkinson and strokes.
2.Loneliness is inevitable
It is a fact, that as you get older you will lose some of your friends and even loved ones. But you may also be given more loved ones through family, extended family and friends.
Studies show that as we grow older it is less about quantity but more about quality.
3.Dementia is an inevitable part of aging
“Dementia should be seen as a modifiable health condition and, if it occurs, should be followed as a medical condition, not a normal part of aging,” said Patricia Harris, MD, a geriatrician and associate professor at Georgetown University Medical Centre. Whilst the risk of dementia does increase with age, in reality it affects about 5% of older people.
Research is now showing that regular physical exercise is directly linked to the risks of getting Alzheimer’s and it is never too early or too late to start exercising.
Try to also exercise you brain. Do tasks that you don’t do regularly, write letters or learn a new skill. Our brain is the most powerful muscle in our body and it needs plenty of stimulation to stay strong and healthy.
4.Sex ends when you age
A survey of 3,005 people ages 57 to 85 found the chance of being sexually active depended as much if not more on their health and their partner’s health than on their age. The need for intimacy is ageless.
Whilst sex in your 60’s typically wouldn’t’t be the same as it was in your 20’s, some might even say that it is better. A lot of the factors that can negatively impact on our sex life are removed, such as stress from work and no more young children, which allows for more relaxation and enjoyment of one another. Further the life experience and knowledge of self and expectations are a lot more realistic than they were in the earlier years of life.
Sex is good for you! It can improve mental and physical health, increase you lifespan, solidify relationships and give refuge.
5.Arthritis and Osteoporosis are inevitable
Age itself does not cause arthritis, it may increase the risk, however the way you live your life while you are younger is proven to impact on the likelihood of developing arthritis. Such as regular, low impact exercise, Comfortable footwear and weight management…
6.Older people are an economic burden
Whilst some elderly will need financial assistance at some stage the contribution towards our economy and society much outweighs the cost. The 55+ spend a lot on domestic and international travel and are heavily involved in fundraising, donating and volunteering both with there time and there money.
7.You can’t change or learn new things with age
You never stop learning. This is also true as you grow older. Many people attend university or informal classes to pursue interest that they never had enough time for whilst working, such as arts or sports. Whilst the way that information is processed changes as you get older and might need more repetition it is still possible to learn to play that instrument or dance that dance. Your brain continues to send out new connections and to strengthen existing ones throughout your life — as long as you continue to challenge it. It really is your body’s ultimate muscle.
8.Older people are more likely to be victims of criminal assault and robbery
People aged 65 and over are less likely to be victims of crime than other adults.
9.Creativity gets lost with aging
Not necessarily. Creativity actually offers huge benefits for older people. A George Washington University study found that older adults who joined a choir were in better health, used less medication, and had fewer falls after a year than a similar group that didn’t join.
The singers also said they were less lonely, had a better outlook on life, and participated in more activities overall than the non-singing group, who actually reduced the number of activities they participated in during the year.
10.Seniors are always unwell, unhappy and cranky
The majority of older people are healthy and active, particularly those under 80 years old. In 2003 only 5% of people aged 60 and older were in hospitals or aged care homes.
Researchers from Heidelberg, Germany, interviewed 40 centenarians, they found that despite significant physical and mental problems, 71 percent said they were happy, and more than half said they were as happy as they’d been at younger ages.
Plus, when the researchers compared them to a group of middle-age people, they found that both groups were just as happy. Most important: Nearly 70 percent of the centenarians said they laughed often.
What does it all mean? It means there is no universal definition of aging. How you’ll age is entirely up to you — and the time to begin writing that definition is today.
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