Americans are living much longer than ever now, and the truth is that bad health is not an unavoidable or natural part of the aging process. There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding getting older, but with moderate research findings and practical experience they can be disproven, altering the way we think about aging into and through the twilight years.
No one likes getting older, including doctors. This is perhaps one reason why the myths about aging continue to occur. But no matter what the popular opinion is, research shows that old age is not in and of itself a life sentence. Older age does not automatically mean living with conditions like dementia, anxiety, frailty, depression, or other diseases commonly thought to be unavoidable with senior citizenship.
While some cognitive problems are common with age, such as delayed reaction times and lower problem solving skills, dementia is not normal. Many older adults can surpass middle-aged and younger adults with IQ tests that draw upon experience and knowledge. Besides dementia, many aspects related to older age can directly impact memory, such as medications, sleepiness, and other health problems.
Depression may be usual in older adults but again, it is not a natural part of aging. Getting older necessarily contains a lot of changes, such as retirement, loss of loved ones, and health issues. While feeling disappointed or uncomfortable about these changes is natural, experiencing depression as a result is not. Depression is a health condition that interferes with everyday functioning. It is important to talk about depression with older adults, and break down the negative perceptions.