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Not many of us look forward to aging. Yet, unless one of us discovers a fountain of youth or a way to travel back in time, there’s nothing that we can do to avoid it.
Perhaps if most of us better understood what to really expect with aging, we wouldn’t dread it quite so much. Here are the top four misconceptions about aging and the truth behind them:
1. Mental Capabilities are Impaired with Age
One of the leading stereotypes of the elderly is that of the slow-walking and slow-thinking granny who is always losing things. She can’t always remember your name, and sometimes she thinks she’s living in another time altogether.
Yet the truth is that everyone ages differently, both physically and mentally. Some people can begin their cognitive decline when they’re 40, and others will remain sharp until the day they die at 100. Many factors contribute to your mental fitness, including your genetics, your diet, how much you exercise, your long-term quality of sleep, and other lifestyle factors. There is no hard-and-fast rule about when your mental capabilities will decline or indeed if they will at all.
2. Beauty Will Fade
Let’s face it: No one will be wrinkle-free at 90. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll look like a shriveled prune at 50 either. Wrinkles, sagging skin, thinning skin, eye bags, brown spots, and other discolorations are all common signs of aging, but there is no guarantee about who will experience each of those things or when.
Some people never get age spots or only get a few in places no one sees. Some get fine lines while others get deep cracks all over their skin. Again, each person’s experiences is a mix of genetics and lifestyle factors. Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, and quitting smoking can all help you preserve your skin. Using the right products can also slow the effects of aging, helping you keep smooth, tight skin for as long as possible.
3. Older People Are Lonely
The older you get, the more these things will become likely: if you have children, they will likely move out of your home and become busy with families of their own. They may even move far away, like in another state or country. Your friends will get older and may become sick, experience decreased mobility or cognitive ability, or even die. They can also move away or become immersed with their families. Your other family members will also grow older and may die.
This is why the myth that older people are lonely persists. However, not all people are lonely when they get older. Though it may become harder to make friends as you age, it is not impossible. You can continue to form meaningful friendships at any age. It is also possible that your children and other family will live nearby and continue to be close. You could enjoy the pleasure of spending time with your children and grandchildren every day or every week. You can also spend time volunteering or pursuing your own interests.
There is plenty to keep you busy and fulfill your need for companionship as you get older. You are responsible for your own relationships.
4. Older People No Longer Learn or Grow
There is no statute of limitations on learning new things or growing as a person. You can start taking ukulele lessons when you’re 80. You can learn Spanish when you’re 60. As long as you have the desire to learn or grow, you can.
Instead of focusing on what you dread about the prospect about aging, focus on creating a healthy lifestyle and enjoying your life to the fullest. Then you can be grateful that you get the chance to age and make the most of every minute.