Aging and Beliefs: Demystifying Myths About Growing Old

group of seniors

Many people fear becoming old. A big part of that fear is brought on by assumptions about aging that may not always be the case, or in some instances, are outright false. Learning more about these assumptions can help people understand and hopefully cure some of their fears. It can also help others understand what the elderly are going through. This article aims to demystify these myths about aging.

A person’s memory fades as they age.

Conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s are indeed more prevalent in older people, but they are not a natural part of the aging process. According to the estimates of the World Health Organization, only around five to eight percent of people over 60 have dementia at any given time. Although that is by no means a small percentage, a vast majority of the elderly still don’t have that condition.

Other forms of memory loss in the elderly are usually associated with prolonged alcohol and drug abuse or other diseases like Parkinson’s or Huntington’s. Depression can also be a significant contributor to memory loss.

Still, that means that living a healthy lifestyle, with appropriate amounts of mental and physical activity, is a good way to make sure memory loss is avoided as people grow older.

Depression is unavoidable in old age.

Speaking of depression, many believe that as a person gets older, the feelings and other symptoms associated with depression are typical. They are not. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the reason medical professionals usually misdiagnose this condition is that it often accompanies other illnesses like heart disease or cancer.

Feelings of isolation when going through an illness can be a gateway to depression. Maintaining connections and seeking professional help can manage this condition. A healthy lifestyle can help avoid it altogether.

Genetic conditions are more common in the elderly.

doctor with digital tablet

Although genetics do affect a person’s overall health and physical acumen, they are not the sole determinants of any age. The prevalence of genetic diseases in the elderly may be brought on by several factors, such as lifestyle, diet, and other illnesses. Keeping the body healthy while aging can still prevent many of these conditions.

Other genetic conditions like scoliosis have no known preventative measures, according to Harvard Medical School, except for osteoporosis-related scoliosis. The best way to manage them is by early detection. Seeking the advice of a scoliosis consultant is a good start.

Older people are impoverished and contribute little to society.

Many think that older people can do little to work and therefore are more likely to be poor than they’re younger, more active counterparts. That is not true. According to the Congressional Research Service, the poverty rate of people over 65 has gone down by 70 percent in the last 50 years.

Also, because of their decades of professional and practical experience, not to mention the wisdom and knowledge they’ve gathered, older people are highly valued members of the workforce. According to Marketplace, around one in every five Americans above 65 are part of the modern workforce.

Many older people also devote their time to volunteer work. There are around 200,000 members of the Senior Corps above the age of 55.

Getting older is a natural part of life. These myths, however, are mostly not.

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