There are many myths associated with aging. They range from the belief that seniors can’t use technology to the idea that growing older means your health will decline. This week, we decided to help bust some of the more popular myths about aging.
Myth: Older people are crabby
Fact: A study led by Arthur Stone, of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University, proved just the opposite is true. They found that worry and stress affect people less as they grow older, with age 50 being the tipping point. Happiness begins to increase at age 50 and keeps improving for another twenty to twenty-five years.
Myth: Aging brings poor health
Fact: We know now that lifestyle factors largely determine how well someone will age. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and protein is important. Exercise that incorporates strength, balance, flexibility and endurance can also help promote health aging. Not smoking is critical. Drinking alcohol in moderation also plays a role.
Myth: Old dogs can’t learn new tricks
Fact: While seniors may learn differently than younger adults, they are able to continue learning new things their entire lives. It is well-documented that doing so can help prevent or delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other related forms of dementia. Learning a new language, tackling technologies like Facebook or a blog, or picking up a musical instrument are all good examples that have brain health benefits.
Myth: You will feel old by the time you are 60
Fact: A 2009 survey Growing Old in America showed just how false this myth is. Their research found that 60% of people over the age of 65 felt 10 to 20 years younger than their actual age!
Myth: Old people don’t have much to do
Fact: The baby boomer generation has rewritten what we think is possible during aging. From starting their own small businesses to volunteering their time at local non-profits, they are active and engaged with life. In fact, a study by Dane Stangler of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation showed that Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 started new businesses in greater numbers than those aged 20 to 34 every year since 1996.