Aging Myth

Topics: Gerontology, Aging, Old age Pages: 83 (35122 words) Published: November 27, 2014
> The Myth of Senility
Myth:  Older persons "naturally" grow more confused and child-like, become forgetful, and lose contact with reality. They become "senile". Reality:   Senility is an outdated term referring to abnormal deterioration in the mental functions of some older people, linking the process of growing old to symptoms of forgetfulness, confusion, and changes in behavior and personality. Such an image is false, stereotypical, and is neither a normal sign of aging nor even a disease. The word "senility" implies an assumption about elderly people that, because they are old, they are also mentally deficient. This insidious myth, still prevalent, discriminates by causing or promoting social isolation, dependency, and loss of independence. > The Myth of Disability

Myth:   Older persons with severe functional disabilities experience a greater number of associated diseases than those with less severe disabilities. Reality:   There is no correlation between the severity of a functional disability and the number of associated diseases. While incidences of both increase with age, the number of diseases affecting a person does not equate with either the severity of a disability or the magnitude of functional loss. Vigorous people can acquire several diseases and remain independent. Conversely, many older people with severe functional disabilities remain otherwise healthy. > The Myth of Homogeneity

Myth:   As we age, we lose our individual differences and become progressively more alike. Reality:   Aging does not affect us as a person; our personality remains fairly constant. Not only do we retain our individual differences throughout our lives, these differences become even more pronounced as we get older. We generally become more like our youthful self; a talkative teenager, for example, becoming a talkative older person and a stubborn youngster carrying the trait of stubbornness into old age. Except for changes in our physical appearance and experiencing more physical problems, being "old" feels no different from how we feel now or when we were young. In reality, an old person is a young person who has just lived longer. > The Myth of Lonely Isolation

Myth:  Older persons are abandoned by their families and forced to live out their lives in isolation, loneliness, and despondency. Reality:   Most older people do not live alone. Over half of thoseage 65 and older live with a spouse or with other relatives, while less than one in five live alone. Most of these, however, are women because women generally live longer than men. > The Myth of Dependency

Myth:   Elderly people become helpless and cannot take care of themselves. Reality:  The overwhelming majority of older people are not helpless and for the most part can and do take care of themselves. Ninety-four percent live independently and enjoy many of the same activities as do younger people. It is very important to understand that very few older persons require specialized products. Most want—and use—the same kinds of products and environments enjoyed by younger generations. Moreover, only 4 to 6 percent of all older people are institutionalized at any one time. > The Rocking Chair Myth

Myth:   As age increases we withdraw, become inactive, and cease being productive. Reality:  Healthy aging covers the spectrum from introspective disengagement to staying active for as long as possible. Diminished capabilities and personal preferences also tend to affect our level of activity. These factors, coupled with personality differences, result in some of staying active while others disengage. > The Myth of Inability

Myth:   Older persons are forgetful, incapable of learning, and refuse to adapt to new ways. Reality:   Aging does not affect our ability to learn. The information processing literature does not support the idea that cognitive functioning declines with age. While we may experience some difficulty with short-term (working) memory as we get...
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