The prejudices and stereotypes that surround old age make us have a negative image of this stage, which does not always correspond to reality. Old age is a stage of life that we all hope to reach, but which is nevertheless associated with a lot of myths and prejudices. These often give a negative image of the elderly in society and damage their self-perception of themselves. Each person is different, as is the experience of aging each one. To think that our life is going to worsen may predispose us to do so. That is why today we are going to talk about five myths about aging that we should banish.
The elderly are always sick
Sometimes the limitations of age are confused with being ill. It is likely that after 60 our sight or our bones are not 100% workable, but that does not have to prevent us from taking care of our health and following an active aging. Carrying a healthy diet and doing some moderate exercise on a regular basis.
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It is true that the elderly are more likely to get sick, but so are the children and that is not why we have the idea that we spend our entire childhood convalescent. This myth can make us fear the arrival of old age or even negatively affect the recovery of the elderly. Why bother if we’re always going to be sick? And then the prophecy is only fulfilled. It is much more advisable to work to maintain our quality of life at any age and worry about what we can do to be well.
Old age causes dementia
As we talked about the myths of dementia, although age is a risk factor, it is not the years that produce dementia but neurodegenerative diseases.
It is normal, with the passage of time, to notice a certain decrease in short-term memory, but an aging brain is not synonymous with a brain with dementia. The changes that occur are different. The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s go beyond ordinary forgetfulness and are clearly differentiating.
Cognitive abilities are lost as you get older
This prejudice is quite related to the previous one. In old age, memory or mental quickness may fail but we tend to develop compensatory functional strategies to address these shortcomings, if at all.
From the age of seventy, it is estimated that the daily loss of neurons is hundreds of thousands, but if we think that the human brain has about 86 billion neurons, this reduction does not seem so important.
In addition, not all those that are lost belong to the same area, in some areas significant decreases are not observed, and thanks to the cerebral plasticity, the remaining cells have the capacity to increase their synaptic connections, balancing the decrease.
It is not possible to learn anything new
Considering all this, this myth is also out of the question. In the old age not only can we learn new things, we also have more time, less pressure and many more possibilities to enjoy with the new studies.
Sometimes it is attributed to age what is actually lack of habit or training. Practice pursuing our own pace and relying on our experience in life and it can make learning a very rewarding experience. At other stages, studies may be conditioned by the job or social expectations but as we grow older, we can devote ourselves to learning what we simply like, engenders curiosity or makes us feel good.
The elderly are not happy
Happiness is conditioned by many factors, especially our desires and expectations. One tends to think that older people do not have motivations, that they do not enjoy sex or that from a certain age we cannot be happy anymore.
But reality shows us examples of the opposite every day and several surveys confirm that subjective happiness improves over the years. Older people have more cognitive and emotional skills to cope with life, regardless of their physical state.
When it comes to happiness, it is a positive attitude (which is usually reached with experience), the factor that most guarantees it. That is why it is worth rethinking our idea of old age and not letting ourselves be carried away by negative stereotypes.