“Old age ain’t for sissies”, that’s what Bette Davis told reporters who asked about her aging process. While it may have been true for Bette, it turns out aging isn’t as scary as the media makes it seem. Studies have shown that seniors in America are thriving.
So why are so many industries focused on anti-aging? It turns out there are some common misconceptions about what it means to grow older.
The biggest misconception is that older people feel depressed. Stanford University’s Center on Longevity conducted a study which found that emotional well-being actually improves as you age. Seniors feel better about their looks, lives and relationships than younger people.
Depression among seniors seems to be triggered by feelings of isolation. This secluded feeling can occur when seniors experience a lack of mobility that keeps them at home instead of socializing. So seniors living in an urban community with excellent public transportation or in a refined residential living community, where socializing is a major part of life, still feel vital.
Another common misconception is that you lose your brain power as you age. Barring dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, there’s no reason to believe that your mind crumbles as you age. Seniors may take longer to access information in their brains, but that may be because their knowledge base is greater than younger peers.
“Like an older computer, an older brain typically takes longer to process and retrieve information from its crowded memory,” says University of Texas at Dallas professor of behavioral and brain sciences Denise Park.
In fact, if you train your brain like you train your muscles. Try working crossword puzzles and reading to help your mind stay active. Another great way to keep your mental acuity is conversation. Studies have shown that regular interaction help seniors keep their minds sharp.
Change is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Don’t let the common misconceptions about aging make you afraid to embrace the next stage of life. As you age, make some healthy choices and you’ll discover how much fun growing old can be.