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Aging Myths Series Part 4

PART FOUR: Elderly Lifestyle Assumptions That Are Simply Untrue
We’re back one last time to debunk the dangerous myths about growing older. Today, let’s discuss lifestyle stereotypes regarding seniors.

Want to gain a well-rounded view of this subject? Read all of Stoney Brook’s Aging Myths Series. These insightful articles also reveal the popular cliches about seniors’ physical and mental/emotional state – and will guide you in overcoming the misconceptions and preserving their whole wellness.

Myth #1: It’s Too Late to Change and Learn or Do New Things
The truth is, that aging doesn’t limit your ability to alter course. Never exercised? You should still begin walking, doing yoga, lifting weights, or whatever appeals to you, as well as develop other habits, including those related to your diet and sleep, to transform your body and improve physical problems.

Cognitively, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Office on Aging says that although learning could take a bit longer as we age, we are perfectly capable of acquiring skills, even later in life. Trying a new hobby, socializing with others, and processing new information help seniors keep their minds and memories sharp. Crocheting, book club, a dance class, and beyond – these interests boost brain activity and provide daily enjoyment.

Myth #2: Every Senior Is Alike – And Nothing Like Their Younger Counterparts
Consider the fact that the senior age group encompasses five decades’ worth of individuals. Naturally, according to the APA, that means “the differences among older adults are great – greater than those seen in other age groups.” Not only do they diverge in the physical, mental, cognitive, emotional, and lifestyle sense, but also in age, gender identity, sexual orientation, family status, and racial, ethnic, educational, and economic backgrounds. In fact, says the APA, we’re witnessing an aging population that’s steadily becoming more culturally diverse.

On the other hand, basic human needs remain consistent always, from fundamental air, food, water, shelter, and sleep, to safety, to possibilities for growth and self-expression, to those vital social connections.

Myth #3: Older Adults Are Less Productive and a Burden on Society
In addition to their sizeable (and growing) economic contributions, US seniors bring great value to our world and our workforce. The CDC’s National Center for Productive Aging and Work asserts that older workers can be just as productive as their younger colleagues. Their age shouldn’t impact their main job tasks negatively, and instead, their added years of skill, experience, work ethic, and collaboration boast an exceptional advantage. These revelations only reinforce the reality that they have so much left to give and live – as mentors, neighbors, friends, volunteers, club members, classmates, fellow worshippers, and travelers, too.

Myth #4: When You Retire, Expect Life to Get Boring and Quiet
Another common stereotype about aging is that retirement will be an uninteresting, uninspired, and unhappy time. But really, this stage can be another “un-“ word: as “unique” as the retirees themselves! Research shows that happiness increases as we grow older, perhaps because we can now choose to spend more of our hours devoted to the interests, passions, and people important to us. A suitable assisted living community further supports this notion, because it enables seniors to focus on fabulous new opportunities to be who they’ve always wanted to be.

Myth #5: Seniors Must Sacrifice Their Independence
People assume that when they get older, their freedom will suffer, and that they can no longer drive or find ways to experience their favorite things and connections. But that’s not reality.

One example: the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says that nearly one in five licensed drivers are 65 or older, and that rate is rising. Of course, natural changes may occur as they age (slower response speed, diminished vision, hearing, strength, and mobility, etc.), hindering their willingness to drive – or their ability to do so safely.

Assisted living communities provide a secure environment, onsite, personal assistance with daily living activities, and a host of services, amenities, and activities. Instead of cooking, cleaning, fixing, and worrying, residents can choose to ride the chauffeured, round-trip transportation to errands, appointments, and fun and essential destinations located in conveniently close proximity.

Myth #6: Older People Don’t Need or Want to Socialize
Forget the stereotype of the housebound recluse. Seniors can be as socially active as any other age group. You’ll find them engaging with neighbors, friends, family members, and, yes, even in romantic relationships. For a vast variety of reasons, socialization is important for seniors and their wellness, and loneliness can be incredibly harmful. So, they should be motivated to get out and about and to maintain social bonds, particularly those involving positive, face-to-face interactions.

Myth #7: Life Satisfaction Dwindles As We Age
Although a misconception exists that seniors yearn for their youth, the APA finds that the older they get, “people are generally more satisfied with their lives and more optimistic about growing older.” So, what can you do to make aging well the reality for yourself or a loved one? As long as you follow trusted recommendations for total elderly health – and guarantee that every need is fulfilled – seniorhood can be the best stage of all.

This is the final blog installment of the Stoney Brook Aging Myths Series, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your discoveries. If you haven’t already, read our other three articles on this topic, covering the risks and details of age-related physical and mental/emotional myths, in addition to tips on helping seniors age healthily.

Flourish fabulously with meaningful senior living.
Fulfill the promise of healthy and momentous days ahead, devoted to those pastimes that make you happiest. An expert in assisted living and memory care, Stoney Brook designed its Central Texas senior living communities to enrich residents’ physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, and emotional wellness.

Want to learn more firsthand? Schedule a complimentary visit to meet us in person. Plus, check out Stoney Brook’s free, insightful resources, all devoted to helping seniors and their caregivers. Subscribe to our blog.

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