Everyone has some notion about what it means to grow older. These ideas aren’t always positive and can generate a certain level of anxiety around getting on in years. In many cases however, these tend to be myths and misconceptions about how our bodies change as we get older.
While there is some truth to every myth, getting older is always a subjective experience, unique to each person. Let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent thoughts regarding aging, and how they might not be entirely accurate for everyone.
Older People Can’t Adapt
This is a major myth. While it is true that some people don’t adapt to change in their older age, it’s also possible that those same people didn’t adapt to change when they were younger either! As we age, it’s entirely up to each person to decide how they will roll with changes to their everyday life. While it might be harder to adapt after years of living the same lifestyle, age isn’t the only factor.
Your Brain Isn’t As Sharp As It Used To Be
It’s a common trope that older people are mentally slowed or have bad memories. It’s a stereotype that doesn’t take into account each person’s unique experiences and qualities. Regular mental exercises and continuing to challenge yourself can keep memories and wits sharp even as we age. This is true at any age!
Older People Don’t Have Sex Lives
As we’ve discussed in previous articles, getting older doesn’t mean that your sex life disappears. It does change though! As hormone levels shift when we get older, we need to learn to adapt and figure out what works best for each of us. Physical changes might also have an impact on sexual relationships, but learning to adapt and live with changes is a normal part of getting older. In many cases, imbalances in hormone production can be addressed through hormone replacement therapy.
Getting Older Leads To Depression
Adults experiencing depression are usually dealing with the same causes as anyone else. Age is not a defining trait of someone with depression. Depression can be caused by any number of factors, with one of them being a hormone imbalance. These kinds of imbalances can be treated with proper diagnosis and hormone therapy.
Retirement Leads To Lack Of Productivity
Just because someone has left the workforce, does not mean that they no longer contribute to the community they live in. Many take the abundant free time to engage in activities they did not have time for prior to retirement. Some dedicate time to volunteer services, while others pursue hobbies and travel.
Once You Retire, You’re No Longer Creative
This goes hand in hand with the previous myth. Taking full advantage of the free time available is something most retired people look forward to. Taking on new challenges, exploring hidden talents, or cultivating a new skill are all possible at any age. There’s no reason creative pursuits have to stop as soon as you have the time to work on them!
You Become More Lonely As You Age
There’s no hard and fast rule saying that you have to stop being social as you get older. While mobility can be an impediment to staying socially active and going out to participate in activities, it varies from person to person. Just like with other points on this list of misconceptions, people tend to carry over lifestyles and habits from earlier in life. If someone spends time avoiding social activity their whole life, they’ll potentially keep up that trend in later years.
Dementia Is Inevitable
Dementia is a condition that affects less than 10% of those over 65. This myth is linked to the idea that older people’s minds start to go with age. Dementia is very different than simply becoming more forgetful or not as quick with a joke. In some cases, these symptoms are the result of medications or other medical conditions that can be addressed and treated separately from dementia.
Any time you hear a phrase that lumps all members of a group together, you should be skeptical of it. The idea that all old people are the same is as ridiculous as the concept that all middle aged or younger people are the same. In most cases, it’s possible to maintain the same kind of life and level activity even as we get older. It’s all about how you approach your aging. With the right mindset and knowledge about how to adapt, aging doesn’t have to slow you down or completely flip your life!