Busting the 5 Most Common Myths About Aging
May 4, 2018
The misconceptions about aging are too numerous to count. In honor of National Older Americans Month, Legacy Senior Living busts some of the most common myths.
The myths and negative misconceptions about aging are too numerous to count. The most common ones range from assuming all seniors have poor health to the misconception that older adults can’t master technology. Visit any senior living community, including any of the Legacy communities across the south, and you will see firsthand just how erroneous these myths are.
Every year Congress designates May as Older Americans Month. It’s a time to raise awareness about the vital role seniors play in our lives and to help younger people better understand the aging process.
During Older Americans Month this year, we want to bust some of the common myths about aging and shine a spotlight on how seniors are living longer, healthier lives.
Aging With Grace: Separating Fact From Fiction About Growing Older
Myth #1: Most seniors have some type of health problem.
Reality: Researchers have made a lot of progress in determining how lifestyle affects aging. We no longer think successful aging is due to genetics alone. In fact, experts now say lifestyle trumps genetics for almost all diseases.
A healthy lifestyle includes daily exercise and well-balanced meals. Both are considered the keys to successful aging. Not smoking (and avoiding secondhand smoke), managing stress, and staying socially active are also important.
At all Legacy Senior Living communities, we encourage residents to “Live Well”. We partner with each resident to provide the education, support and services he or she needs to help maintain, and many times improve, their health and wellbeing. We work with our residents to customize their “Live Well” service plan. They will find many opportunities to follow their individualized plan through social interaction, balanced nutritional choices, physical activity, and spiritual involvement. As each resident grows and is able to accomplish more, we will work with them to continually upgrade and change their service plan to suit their needs. As a result, they will grow stronger physically, mentally and spiritually.
Myth #2: Older adults are lonely and sad much of the time.
Reality: While isolation is a risk factor linked to health problems among older adults, most seniors live engaged lives and are enjoying retirement. According to a study at Stony Brook University, happiness begins to increase at age 50 and keeps climbing for several more decades.
Myth #3: People feel old by the time they reach 60.
Reality: This is another myth researchers have disproven. In fact, a 2009 Pew Research study revealed that 60% of people over 65 actually felt much younger than the date on their birth certificate. Many seniors said they felt like they were 10 to 20 years younger than they actually were. Older adults who indicated they felt younger also said they were grateful for all of their blessings in life.
Myth #4: Seniors don’t use technology and social media.
Reality: Studies prove just how inaccurate this myth is. Older adults are the fastest growing age group on several social media platforms, including Facebook. According to Pew Research, 60% of older adults use the internet and 77% have a cell phone.
Myth #5: Your brain shrinks as you age so you can’t learn new things or adapt to new situations very easily.
Reality: This myth might stem from the fact that we learn differently as we grow older, but we don’t stop learning at any stage in life. Another reason this misconception might persist is that seniors are often emotionally attached to a home they have lived in for decades. As they downsize for a move to a senior living community or to a smaller home, what looks like a resistance to change may actually be an older adult coming to terms with the memories they are leaving behind.
Interested in learning more about this annual celebration of seniors? Visit Older Americans Month to download more resources and tools to help spread the word in your local community.