The golden years can be the best time in a person's life, especially for empty nesters free to travel about beautiful coastlines, reconnect with old friends and explore other options they would've never been able to do with kids under their roof.
However, some might think that at a certain point, the ever-ticking internal clock begins to limit a person's ability to lead an active life - and that simply isn't true. To make sure loved ones feel happy and valued no matter their number, everyone should stop believing these myths about aging.
Old people can't adapt to change
This has less to do with age and more to do with personal preference. Some people like certain things that others don't, and it's as simple as that. Someone who is 80 today has experienced a remarkable amount of change over the course of their lifetime, so while they might be a bit of a Luddite, that's nothing to hold against them.
Elderly people are senile
Forgetfulness happens to everyone in different capacities, but just because a person is getting older doesn't mean they won't remember recent events or the names of family members, or that they'll experience other signs of serious cognitive decline. It's OK if something slips the mind every once in a while, but no matter your age it doesn't hurt to give your noggin a boost with these foods neurologists eat for brain health.
Retirees don't seek out adventure
When it comes time to retire, elderly people don't just sit around all day with nothing to do (though there's nothing wrong with a lazy day). Some people wait all their lives to travel the globe, while others catch a thrill by getting creative in the kitchen, redecorating their home, learning a new craft or trying their hand at volunteer work.
Aging bodies can't be active
As previously mentioned, when folks retire they don't become dormant. In fact, many elderly people live active lifestyles, whether that's by competing in a friendly sports match, taking up dance, gardening, learning a new language or hiking and more. The possibilities are endless.
Old people are crabby
Some people assume that the older you get, the crabbier you are - and that is ageist. In fact, experts say senior generations are happier than the general population. Today, studies validate the "positivity effect," which maintains that older people tend to associate themselves with positive stimuli, rather than negative ones.
The elderly don't need social outlets
Although loneliness is a concern for people of all ages, 34 percent of adults aged 50 through 80 say they lack companionship and 27 percent feel socially isolated. This can impact memory, mental health and life expectancy, and some research even shows it's as bad for our health as obesity and smoking. Luckily, there are personalized ways to combat loneliness (and plenty to do after your kids move out).
Old beliefs are outdated beliefs
Every person has their own thoughts, beliefs, politics and worldviews. It's unfair to assume that just because someone is older they have outdated views of the world and the people in it.
Memories inevitably fade
It's easier for seniors to recall events from the past than it is for them to learn something new. The brain's hippocampus becomes degraded over time and cannot accurately "file" new information, so we recall previously stored information instead. Unfortunately, this means that if you've been parking your car in the same place for years and you chose a different spot today, you might find yourself wandering the lot in a slight state of confusion.
Forgetfulness is a sign of dementia
Approximately 40 percent of people aged 65 and older experience some form of memory loss. It's completely normal to misremember details of a conversation that happened long ago or to not recall the name of an acquaintance. It's even natural to forget where you put something or what time you scheduled an appointment for; these "senior moments" don't necessarily indicate the onset of dementia.
Dementia is a normal part of aging
Not everyone gets dementia - though it is true that the risk of developing dementia increases with age, and one in three seniors will die with the disease. But while dementia is fairly common, it is not a universal aspect of aging. In those who do develop dementia, Alzheimer's is the most common form, affecting approximately 70 percent of dementia patients. These 15 foods could help prevent it.
All grandparents wear dentures
Everyday wear and tear can weaken the enamel on teeth, but proper upkeep will keep them strong regardless of age. Don't chomp down on ice or hard foods because that could chip a tooth. Get a mouth guard if you grind at night and keep your gums disease-free by brushing and flossing daily. Be careful of acidic drinks and citrus fruits. Should you drink soda or fruit juice, follow up with dairy (like cheese or milk) to "cancel out" the acid. Lastly: Don't smoke! This will help to decrease the risk of mouth cancer.
Old people don't have sex
The topic of seniors having sex is taboo, and many people presume they just stop altogether. This stereotype can cause older generations to feel shame about sexual feelings and the desire for intimacy. Sexual enjoyment does not decrease with age unless health problems interfere or a person is no longer happy with their partner.
The elderly are incompetent
Even as they age, seniors find ways to exercise their minds and are completely capable of learning new things, making rational decisions and understanding things just as younger generations do, and just as they did decades ago.
Everyone from an older generation acts the same
"All old people are the same" is a stereotype. Like young people, some are sad and some are happy. Some are healthy, while others are sick. Some like golfing, swimming and traveling. And some even want to run for President! Do you know someone who volunteers or still works? Someone in a wheelchair and another able-bodied? Elderly people are as diverse as any other folks on Earth, and assuming that they're all the same is simply untrue.
Old people have different basic needs
Basic human needs don't change with age. We still need food, water, sleep, shelter, safety, love and belonging, self-esteem and self-fulfillment to live our happiest lives. For a breakdown on how to navigate your best years ahead, here's a breakdown of our 20 tips for healthy aging.
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