Aging brings about many changes in an individual’s life. From physical characteristics, health problems, and financial strains, many people who are entering the golden years are frightened by the new and unknown. However, it is often the myths about aging that are the cause of anxiety and fear (PR,N. (2013). Home Instead Senior Care® has found that it is important to debunk these myths in order to alleviate this anxiety (PR,N. (2013). These myths are so widely accepted that it is often difficult for an individual to decipher between fact and fiction in regards to mental and physical health during the later years of life.
The deterioration of mental health is a frightening concept for aging adults. One myth that is widely accepted about aging are the ideas that dementia is inevitable (Aging: myths & facts, 2008, pg. 6). However, there is no evidence to support this myth. On the contrary, in regards to dementia, it is important to note that “when doctors examined the brain of a 115- year-old woman who, when she died, was the world’s oldest woman, they found essentially normal brain tissue, with no evidence of Alzheimer’s or other dementia-causing condition” (Aging: myths & facts, 2008, pg. 6). This proves that there is definitive evidence to support that dementia is not an inevitable part of aging.
A physical myth that frightens aging adults is that painful arthritis is a natural part of the aging process. Although it is true that arthritis is more common during the later years of life due to the impact of time on the cartilage, aging itself does not bring about arthritis (Aging: myths & facts, 2008, pg. 7). In fact, light to moderate exercise throughout one’s life can greatly decrease the occurrence of arthritis. Simple steps such as weight control and proper footwear can also prevent the disease (Aging: myths & facts, 2008, pg. 7). Rather than merely accepting arthritis as a natural part of aging, an individual should be proactive and work towards not developing arthritis and suffering the pain of the condition later in life.
There are inevitable parts of aging. As the body ages there are changes that individuals must face. For example, depression is common among the aging population but this is highly treatable if the generation would move beyond the stigmas and seek help (Aging: myths & facts, 2008, pg. 7). Other factors are also treatable if the individual does not accept the myths that these things are inevitable and do not seek help from medical professionals. Aging can be a frightening part of life. Having the facts can make many of those fears subside.
- Aging: myths & facts. (2008). National Women’s Health Report, 30(3), 6-7.
- PR, N. (2013, April 11). New Research Debunks Top Five Myths About Aging. PR Newswire US.