Many people tend to ask what it’s like to be old as a definite way to identify aging. However, aging is unique to every individual. It’s an amalgamation of factors such as environmental, genetic, mental, and physical factors.
However, seniors might find distinct similarities that generalize what aging feels like. For example, reduced mobility is something that many seniors tend to experience once they’ve reached a certain age. Because of this, myths can start to occur.
Myths can be dangerous, depending on their context. Unfortunately, to a certain degree, certain myths can normalize what people feel, even though it’s not true. In this article, we will be exploring the most common myths when it comes to aging and why you shouldn’t believe them.
You Can’t Learn New Things Once You’re Old
You might have heard the saying you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. It might be said a lot to you by your seniors. But it turns out this saying isn’t true.
Old dogs can learn new tricks, which is the same for human beings. There’s a chance that they might understand it at a slower pace, but they can learn all sorts of new things when they’ve reached seniority. Even some can learn specific skills at a faster rate than those younger than them.
Learning new skills depends primarily on a person’s determination to know them. So don’t think that you can’t learn new skills once you’ve reached a certain age. You can, given that you’re determined enough to learn them.
Memory Fades at a More Rapid Pace the Older You Get
Memory fades. This is a common occurrence to everyone, not just the old. However, the average human brain doesn’t delete memories the older you get. Some older adults could remember some of their childhood memories as if they were yesterday.
Many experts attribute fading memories to recency and primacy effect. The recency effect explains that people are likely to remember memories given that they’ve only occurred recently. The primary impact explains that memories are easier to remember the more you think about them. So you’re likely to forget memories that you don’t think about, and it has happened after a long time.
So it doesn’t matter how old you’ve become. Your memory can be as sharp as an adult’s. If you want your memory to be sharper, you can practice it in many ways. For example, studies have shown that quilting and digital photography positively affect a senior’s ability to remember.
Old People Always Get Dementia
Another myth that many Americans believe in is that dementia is related to age and that older people will inevitably get dementia. This isn’t true.
Dementia is related to lifestyle and genetic factors. Those who have a history of dementia in their family are likely to gain it in the future. Still, they can prevent it through some lifestyle changes. Not every senior gets dementia, but the myth can be attributed to the fact that a staggering number of seniors have dementia in the US.
However, if you know someone with severe dementia, they must get the best treatment. Many home health care organizations are willing to help those who have dementia. They can help treat these seniors with dementia or at least take care of them.
It’s Normal for Old People to Get Depression
Depression is an insidious killer and one that drains people of their sanity slowly. However, depression isn’t normal for older adults or anybody. Much like dementia, the factors that determine depression isn’t age-related. It depends on a person’s experiences and views towards the self.
There’s a huge chance that a senior’s depression is reliant on their current social support system. Seniors with little to no social support system are more likely to have depression. This is the same for any age.
A person’s social support system can determine their loneliness and isolation in life. Both of these are a better determinant of depression than age. A lonely and isolated person is likely to develop depression regardless of their age.
So it isn’t normal for older people to get depression. There’s a chance that it happens to them more commonly because they have lost more friends and family members along the way. However, they can be resilient enough to not gain depression because of this. Moreover, a healthy support system can help them avoid such a mental illness.
It’s common to create myths out of things we assume normally happen. But the uniqueness of being old gives different interpretations of aging. Some might age gracefully, without any mental illness or physical problems. While others might develop mental disorders along the way, this all depends on their experience and medical history. There is no real way to generalize what people are supposed to experience once they grow older.