Written by Barb Fricke, Director of Marketing
Remember the old cliché’ – “age is just a number.” I always wondered if I would believe that as I aged. As I’ve reached a number in the 60’s now, most days I would say that old cliché is true – I am fortunate to be able to do most of the thing I would still like to do, albeit a bit slower than in my younger years. Some days, I do feel my age.
As the Director of Marketing for a senior living community, I hear a lot of discussion and information about aging. I’d like to share with you six myths about aging that aren’t always true.
Myth 1: Older people can no longer learn new things. While it is true that some people have dementia and other similar problems, for most of us, cognitive development continues throughout life. According to a National Institute of Health study, pursuing new interests or learning new skills as you age stimulates the brain to help build a “cognitive reserve” which allows our brain to become more adaptable and potentially compensate for any age-related memory challenges in the future. So take up a new hobby – whatever you might be interested in – to stimulate your brain and bring joy to your daily routine.
Myth 2: When you get older, you will inevitably experience dementia or another memory disorder. One of the biggest fears I hear from many people is that as they age they will get a disorder like Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.
“Mild forgetfulness” such as misplacing your keys or mixing up appointments on your calendar does not directly correlate to a memory loss disorder. Continually stimulating your brain as you grow older can help in efforts to stay sharp. Read, paint, play games or listen to music can all help keep the mind active.
If you’re concerned about forgetfulness, Felician Village and Holy Family Memorial have partnered to form the Lakeshore Memory Clinic. At this clinic, held on the Felician Village campus, medical professionals will assess your memory skills, talk to your family or friends about your memory, and then offer suggestions or further testing options. For more information about the Lakeshore Memory Clinic call 920-320-8600 or go to felicianvillage.org.
Myth 3: Depression is normal and to be expected in older adults. Many assume that isolation and loneliness that is often present when growing older means that older people will automatically suffer from depression. Though depression can occur, many older adults are likely to benefit from long-lasting personal relationships as well as happy memories from throughout life to bring them joy. It really all comes down to attitude. Not everyone becomes depressed.
Myth 4: Older adults should skip exercise to avoid injury. This myth is not true at all. Physical activity supports both physical and mental health, can help to keep away certain health problems like obesity and diabetes, and boosts the serotonin in our brain. Find an activity you enjoy such as walking, swimming, biking, and make exercise part of your daily routine.
Myth 5: Adults don’t need as much sleep as they age. Even though older people are more likely to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier than their younger counterparts, they still require seven to nine hours of sleep per night, the same as all adults. Follow a regular sleep schedule, try to avoid naps and stop using electronic devices before bed.
Myth 6: Only women get osteoporosis. Although it is true that osteoporosis affects women more than men it is usually because men start with more bone density than women. However, by the age of 65-70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate. So if a man has a family history of osteoporosis, doesn’t get enough calcium or vitamin D, doesn’t exercise much, has low levels of testosterone, drinks too much alcohol and smokes, these factors can put him at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Although growing older presents its own set of challenges for each person, the aging process doesn’t have to automatically result in a diminished quality of life. Perhaps you need to do things differently than when you were younger, but you can still live a healthy, active lifestyle when you make smart choices to keep your mind and body healthy.
Felician Village can help you enjoy life to your fullest as you age. Whether you are completely independent, need assistance with daily activities of living, or need ongoing medical supervision by a nurse, we have all these different senior living areas to meet your needs. To learn more give us a call at 920-684-7171 or find your perfect fit on our website.