Older Adults and Health: 5 Myths about Aging
Here are some of the most common myths about older adults and aging that you should forget about immediately!
1) Memory loss is inevitable
Believe it or not, we do have control over how our brain functions as we age.
The way we live our lives, the foods we choose to consume, and the activities and jobs we perform as younger and older adults all have an impact on how our bodies develop over the years.
Although it is very important to pay attention to any symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s, one of the biggest myths about getting older is that you will develop the disease eventually.
Some people develop Alzheimer’s because of their genetics, some because of their lifestyle or other health-related predispositions, but it is never “guaranteed”.In fact, studies have shown that as we get older, the better the both sides of our brain work to find solutions to problems, solve puzzles and resolve conflicts. You have years of experience behind you- so use it to your advantage and forget this myth! If you’ve lived a healthy life, don’t worry too much about the health of your brain and focus on keeping it active and alert.
2) It’ll be harder to make new friends
Who says you can’t go out and date if you have such a desire? Who says you have to stay at home and avoid social activities? This myth is what keeps so many older adults anxious about making new connections and seeking friendship outside of their family circle. Older adults have the luxury to not only make new friends, but recognize which friends to keep and which to let go of over time. This is one of the best parts about aging. Don’t be afraid to go out from time to time and even connect with old friends from school on Facebook. There are countless new websites and aps that are like dating sites, but for finding your new best friend, so step out of your comfort zone. There are plenty of individuals out there at every age that are looking to connect with someone like you!
3) Technology is too advanced for me, so why bother?
If you enjoy playing games, reading the latest news, and most importantly – learning new things, then why not try your hand at using a smartphone or signing up for a computer class? Just because you’re an older adult, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be in touch with the latest technology, social media and convenient electronics that could make your life easier. Studies have shown that learning new skills can reverse memory loss and increase cognitive abilities over time, so why not treat yourself to an iPhone or iPad that will allow you to read your favorite newspaper, solve crossword puzzles, and communicate with your grandkids and family over Skype or Facetime?
4) I’m bound to develop arthritis at some point
Despite popular belief, arthritis isn’t a common symptom of aging. It is an inflammation of joints in the body that causes pain and stiffness, and is particularly hard to define because there are many types of arthritis that can develop in the body. However, it is a not caused by aging or the “weakening” of the body. The most common form of arthritis among older adults, rheumatoid arthritis, is caused by environmental factors, genetics and originates from a weak immune system and infrequent physical activity. Bottom line? Arthritis can develop only if you don’t take care of and protect your body from infection over time. Take the proper steps now to avoid such issues in the future, and remember that exercise is possible at any age (and very necessary).
5) I won’t have as much fun as I used to
Behold, the most dangerous myth of them all. Older adults and seniors should realize that although their “youth” is over, it is never an excuse for limitingthe activities that make you feel alive. Thanks to the fact that people are living much longer than they used to, countless older adults and seniors have found ways to enjoy this rewarding stage of life. If you’re about to retire, use these years to travel, try a new career path, learn new things, make new friends and most importantly pay attention to any changes in your health to ensure that you can live life to the fullest for years to come. Age is but a number, but youth lives in your heart, mind and soul. Do your best to channel your inner child each and every day, and soon enough, you’ll feel empowered to face every good (and bad thing) that may come with aging.