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Cardinal Bay – Aging Myths Series Part 4

Cardinal Bay Aging Myths Series


PART FOUR: Outdated Stereotypes Regarding Senior Lifestyles


For this final installment of Cardinal Bay’s Aging Myths Series, we’re covering the realities behind the lifestyle expectations for older adults.

If you haven’t already, be sure to read all four articles, so that you can understand the typical misconceptions about aging, including physical and mental/emotional stereotypes surrounding elderly people – and learn how to overcome the risks and aid seniors in their aging journey.

Misconception #1: Retirement is a dull stage that requires your lifestyle to change.

Have you ever daydreamed about what you’d do with lots of free time, without having the burdens of work, other major responsibilities, and daily hassles? Would you expand your exercise routine, start taking dance classes, finally visit local landmarks, establish a garden, or volunteer with that local organization you’ve admired? Just savor the chance to do more of what you love. That’s what retirement should be and could be. Even as an older adult, you can be the version of yourself that you’ve always been – or imagined.

Misconception #2: Seniorhood means losing your freedom.

It’s not inevitable that older adults won’t be able to drive or enjoy the places, pastimes, and relationships to which they’ve become accustomed. For example, while age-related changes may affect someone’s ability to drive (slower response speed, diminished vision, hearing, strength, and mobility, etc.), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) notes that almost one in five licensed drivers are 65 or older, and that number continues to increase.

Especially by moving into the right senior living community, residents can tailor their days, removing time-consuming, stressful tasks and replacing them with activities and events that bring them joy. With services such as round-trip transportation, residents can decide whether they want to drive – or rely on a chauffeur – for errands, appointments, and visits to nearby destinations.

Misconception #3: Seniors are less satisfied with their lives than younger adults.

Many people assume that contentment tumbles as each year goes by. According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Office on Aging, the truth is that “As they age, people are generally more satisfied with their lives and more optimistic about growing older.” The key to such gratification: taking the steps fundamental to good, complete wellness and ensuring that every essential is covered.

Misconception #4: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

You’ve likely heard this classic adage. Not only is this false but buying into it can be a real threat to a senior’s wellness. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), “Older adults still can learn new things, create new memories, and improve their performance in a variety of skills.” While learning may take longer for an older adult than a younger adult, “many cognitive changes are positive, such as having more knowledge and insight from a lifetime of experiences.”

What’s more, seniors could improve their cognitive abilities simply by taking up a new hobby or skill and by engaging in social activities that interest them. Likewise, they can implement healthy changes that reverse longtime, poor physical conditions – and improve their nutrition, weight, sleep patterns, fitness, muscle strength, and more.

Misconception #5: All older adults are the same, and their needs are different than those of younger people.

Although many believe that each senior shares identical traits and interests, they can vary dramatically in every possible way, including physically, mentally, cognitively, emotionally, and in their lifestyles. Furthermore, says the APA, they range in age, gender identity, sexual orientation, family status, and racial, ethnic, educational, and economic backgrounds.

But they do share the same basic human needs as everyone else – adequate air, food, water, shelter, and sleep, as well as the ability to be safe and experience relationships, opportunities to grow and express themselves, and enjoy a feeling of self-worth.

Misconception #6: Seniors are unproductive and have nothing to contribute.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Rather than being the stereotypical burden on society we hear about, seniors contribute a lot to the countrywide table, economically and as distinguished colleagues.

As noted by the CDC’s National Center for Productive Aging and Work, their productivity rivals that of their younger coworkers, plus their extra decades’ worth of experience, skill, and work ethic can be a benefit to everyone. For example, “Older workers often help and cooperate with colleagues and supervisors more, which is known as organizational citizenship.” It’s proof positive that older adults still have an invaluable role to play as dynamic companions and collaborators.

Misconception #7: As we grow older, we don’t need or want to connect with others.

On the contrary, seniors count among those who interact most with the outside world, including with family members and friends, as romantic partners, as social media users, and as enthusiastic travelers. Due to the numerous and sometimes surprising benefits of socializing for seniors – and the dangers of isolation – they should be encouraged to enrich their overall health by staying engaged, in person, throughout their community.

Fully conquer the common cliches about aging by reading the entire Cardinal Bay Aging Myths Series. In addition to the lifestyle myths about growing older described above, we delved into the physical and mental/emotional myths, plus the essential, beneficial practices that seniors can implement to help them age well.

Truly Thrive with Purposeful Senior Living

Achieve your potential for leading a healthier, richer and more fulfilling life throughout your golden years. Cardinal Bay provides first-class independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities in Texas and Oklahoma. Explore our highly social, relationship-centered senior living options in your area, where our residents experience frequent interactions and a wealth of stimulating activities – and greet each morning with greater vitality and enthusiasm. Schedule a complimentary visit to understand how we strengthen seniors’ physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, and emotional wellness.

Schedule a complimentary visit to experience for yourself how they thrive. Learn more by reading Cardinal Bay’s free, valuable resources, which are dedicated to the seniors and their caregivers navigating this next chapter. Subscribe to our blog.

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