7 Myths of Aging
Posted October 9, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read
There are many myths and assumptions about what 'aging' entails. But this process is different for everyone and there are many ways you can take control of the process, staying healthy for longer.
Myth 1: My genes determine my health.
It’s not unusual to assume that your life span and health will mirror that of your parents, but Dr. Roger Landry, author of “Live Long, Die Short,” says 70% of how we age comes down to lifestyle choices.
Eating right, getting plenty of sleep, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and getting regular exercise all play a bigger role in your overall health and longevity than genetics.
Myth 2: To be old is to be weak and frail.
A body in motion tends to stay in motion. The CDC lists a number of ways staying active as you age will help keep you fit.
Regular walks, stretching, and gardening can help you build muscle mass, stay flexible and improve your bone density.
Exercise can also help to reduce your blood pressure and the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Before starting any exercise routine, consult with your physician.
Myth 3: As you age, your ability to learn often stops.
According to Harvard Medical School, while learning patterns may change and speed of learning may diminish, your basic capacity to learn remains.
In fact, as we age, the branching of the brain’s nerve cells increases, and connections between distant brain areas strengthen.
This makes it easier to detect relationships between diverse sources of information and understand the global implications of specific issues.
Myth 4: I’ll end up isolated and alone.
While it’s true connections and relationships change throughout life, it’s possible to make friends at any age.
A senior living community offers built-in social connections.
In fact, a study by the Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging shows seniors who live at a Life Plan Community (also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC) are happier and healthier than people living in their houses.
And 69% of the residents surveyed said that moving “somewhat or greatly improved” their social wellness.
Myth 5: Older people like being alone.
As social creatures, the need for meaningful relationships remains throughout our lives.
Being social gives us an intellectual challenge, helps us maintain information-processing skills, and gives us an important outlet for sharing feelings.
Myth 6: Withdrawing from the outside world is a part of aging.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 67% of seniors over 65 use the internet.
And more than 100,000 individuals over age 50 participate in the nonprofit Road Scholar experiential learning program each year to better understand other cultures around the world.
Myth 7: Senility is inevitable.
It’s normal to have moments of forgetfulness or being unable to recall a person’s name.
You’re also likely to experience some slowdown in your reaction time and problem-solving abilities.
But according to the Alzheimer’s Association, only about 3% of U.S. adults ages 65 to 74 years have dementia (including the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s).
Some age-related mental decline can be avoided by eating a balanced diet, staying active, and continuing to mentally challenge yourself by being a lifelong learner.