9 Myths About Aging That People Need to Stop Believing Right Now

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Getting older doesn’t mean trading in your dreams for a rocking chair. There are plenty of tired clichés about aging that connect it with decline and disease, making it sound horrible. But there’s a reason it’s called the golden age — because it can be a time of rich experiences, new adventures, and endless possibilities. Here are 9 myths about aging that people need to stop believing. 

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1. ‘Old People Can’t Learn New Things’

People think aging means you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that’s total nonsense. Older adults can pick up new skills, hobbies, and technologies just as well as anyone else. 

Research from the National Institute on Aging shows that older adults can indeed learn new things, form new memories, and improve their language skills. Sure, they might need a bit more time, but they often perform just as well as younger people once they get the hang of it. In fact, older adults have larger vocabularies and greater knowledge from years of experience, proving they can keep up with new challenges and tasks.

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2. ‘Old People Are Always Grumpy’

The myth that old people are always grumpy is a classic Hollywood trope. Think of cranky Mr. Wilson from “Dennis the Menace.” But just because seniors are often portrayed as grumpy on the screen doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s like expecting cats to love lasagna and hate Mondays because of Garfield.

Yes, some might be a bit sour before their morning coffee, but who isn’t? Many older adults are the most cheerful folks you’ll meet. Sure, they might complain about kids today and their loud music, but they’re also the first to crack a joke at family gatherings.

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3.’Old People Are Technologically Challenged’

The stereotype of the technologically inept senior is as outdated as dial-up internet. Of course, it’s normal for some to struggle with today’s technology, it’s not like smartphones and apps were around when they were young. And while they may not all be coding, many seniors are tech-savvy enough to use smartphones, social media and FaceTime their grandkids. 

A 2023 AARP survey found that 61% of adults  aged 70+, believe they have the necessary digital skills. Many older adults are familiar with artificial intelligence, with 85% having heard of generative AI. 

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4. ‘Old People Don’t Have Fun’

Whoever said fun has an age limit clearly hasn’t seen a group of seniors at bingo night. Whether traveling, dancing, or just catching up over a glass of wine, fun doesn’t stop at a certain age; it just gets more refined. For example, in 2021, an Australian senior Greg Lee celebrated his 100th birthday by skydiving. So take that naysayers, age is just a number! 

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5. Dementia Is Bound to Happen When You Are Old

A lot of people think dementia is just part of getting old, but that’s a total myth. Yes, the risk of dementia increases as you age, but it’s not a guaranteed part of the package. According to the National Institute on Aging, about one-third of people aged 85 and older may have some form of dementia, but guess what? That means two-thirds don’t. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of it. To help keep your brain sharp, you can engage in activities like learning new skills, creating lists, following routines, and getting enough sleep.

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6. ‘Old People Don’t Travel’

Fact: Seniors travel more than you do. Retirement often means more time to explore the world, and many seniors take full advantage. Older adults often have the time, resources, and desire to see the world and are actually the largest travel demographic. Before the pandemic, they constituted the lion’s share of the travel market, and despite a drop to 16% in 2020, their numbers have more than doubled since then. 

Today, seniors over 60 are hitting the road and skies more than ever, proving they’re keen to catch up on all those missed adventures. 

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7. ‘Older Adults Need Less Sleep’

While older adults might sleep less, it’s not because they need less sleep. Insomnia is common among those aged 60 and older due to factors like pain or medications. The National Institute on Aging states that older adults still need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Improving sleep hygiene, such as following a regular sleep schedule and avoiding caffeine and large meals before bedtime, can help. 

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8.’Old People Can’t Drive’

Many seniors are excellent drivers, with years of experience that make them some of the safest on the road. Sure, some might take it a bit slower, but that’s just being cautious, not incapable.

In fact, older drivers often have fewer accidents than their younger counterparts. A 2024 LendingTree study found that Gen Z drivers are the least safe, with the highest incident rates, DUIs, and accident rates. In contrast, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation had the lowest incident rates. The study found that Gen Z had 49.07 incidents per 1,000 drivers, while the Silent Generation had only 19.05.

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9. ‘All Seniors End up in Retirement Homes’

The image of every older adult ending up in a retirement home is more fiction than fact. Most seniors prefer to age in place, staying in their own homes and communities. According to AARP, nearly 90% of seniors want to stay in their homes as they age, and many do just that.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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