Which of the following statements about aging are true?
1. Older persons inevitably grow more confused and child like, lose contact with reality and become senile and forgetful.
2. Old people are indistinguishable. As older persons age, they lose their individual differences and become progressively more alike.
3. Old age is associated with misery. Older persons are abandoned by their families and forced to live out their lives in isolation, loneliness and despondency.
4. Elderly people become helpless and cannot take care of themselves.
5. As age increases, elderly persons withdraw, become inactive and cease being productive.
6. Older persons are incapable of learning and unwilling to adapt to new ways.
All of the statements are false and represent the commonest myths about aging. Senility is not inevitable. Over time, individual differences are enhanced, not diminished—an old person is simply a young person who has lived longer. Most seniors (94 percent) take care of themselves and enjoy living independently, and only 4 to 5 percent require custodial care. Some seniors stay engaged; others withdraw and become more introspective. Age does not destroy the ability to learn: old dogs can and do learn new tricks.
Age is relative. No matter what your age, you are always young or old to someone. The person reaching his or her 100th birthday thinks an 80-year-old is young. Teenagers consider their parents ancient. The big brother feels all grown up when viewing his little sister. In a very real sense, the perception of age is in the eye of the beholder.
Now that you’ve been tested with false statements, here are three true statements about aging:
1. Aging is universal—everyone ages.
2. Aging is inevitable—we cannot escape the process.
3. Aging is irreversible—we cannot get any younger.
Although we can’t turn back the clock or avoid aging, we can maximize our sense of well-being by adopting a healthful lifestyle.