Myths about Aging
Not all that long ago, the process of aging was revered: we spoke of wise elders and learned about life through their tales. Now days, aging is seen by many as a diminishing of importance, beauty, and relevance instead of a culmination of experience. We at the Caregiver Foundation would like to bring awareness to the community of the compassion and respect our kupuna deserve.
Everyone ages, but we do not have to face the aging process with discouragement and anxiety. There are many things we can do to make growing older rewarding and more comfortable. To begin with, it is important to get rid of some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding aging.
Myth 1: Aging separates us from useful contributions to society.
FALSE. Modern society may look to the young to renew itself, but senior populations provide the knowledge and experience on which younger generations can build bold new futures. Hawaii has the second largest density of elderly population in the United States and longer life expectancies than the average American. We are a large local resource with experience to back up our contributions.
Myth 2: Mental decline is a normal part of aging.
FALSE. We have all heard the phrase “senior moments” used to explain memory lapses or confusion as people age. However, new research shows that the brain may change with age, but responds best to nutrition, academic and mental stimulation, and physical activity. Find ways to keep your brain active on a daily basis. You’re never too old to keep learning!
Myth 3: Aging means losing physical strength and mobility.
FALSE. In reality, proper diet, regular exercise, and strength training can help you maintain physical vigor well into your golden years. What makes bodies lose strength and mobility is improper nutrition and sedentary lifestyles. Talk to a physician about creating a regimen to keep you healthy and moving without straining yourself.
Myth 4: Old people don’t need sex.
FALSE. Sex remains a vital part to many people’s lives, even into old age. Seniors are definitely able to continue satisfying sexual relations far into the golden years. Viagra has been used very successfully to treat men with erectile dysfunction and is now being tested as a supplement for women with pending results. Sexual relations maintain emotional bonds, provide physical intimacy, and promote better mental health for people of all ages.
Myth 5: Dementia is almost guaranteed in my old age.
FALSE. While there is a high prevalence of dementia in some form in people over 70, it does not mean the condition is inevitable. Dementia is a medical condition and should be treated as such. If you or your loved one becomes forgetful, check with a physician if it could be related to medication, nutrition, or other medical issues. Don’t assume Alzheimer’s off the bat!