As we get older there are some things that get louder when things should be quietening down – this is especially true when it comes to common myths about aging edging into our expectations of the golden years. But these myths are just that – myths! Aging looks different for everyone, independent senior living comes in all shapes and sizes.
While some of us might want to slow down, exercise can energise and repair our bodies. A new sport or activity should never become a long-lost dream. Speaking of dreams, we should be having just as much sleep as we’ve always done, it can help curb those senior moments that don’t always point to the brain fogging we’ve been told to expect.
We should be having fun as we enter elderhood, not waiting for tired old myths about aging to catch up with us. Let’s debunk a few of those pesky stories.
Myth: We Can’t Learn New Skills When We Get Older
We’ve all heard it – “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. While it’s offensive on many levels, it’s also just not true. Learning new skills or knowledge is never an ability that completely escapes us. Sure, it might take a little longer to get to grips with the nitty-gritty and really perfect the technique, we humans are wily, and never shy from learning something new.
Evidence shows that learning new things at an older age can improve our brain function. New skills mean the brain must think in different ways, so we can become better problem solvers than we used to be—a little reverse-aging technique!
So, pop into French class or pick up that ping pong paddle; you might get twenty years younger (or at least feel that way)!
Myth: You Shouldn’t Exercise as Much
Common myths about aging suggest we should let our bodies “slow down”, or even that exercise is detrimental to our health. This is not the case.
Exercise is great at any age, and it can even help our bodies recover from chronic ailments. Osteoporosis is a common ailment in both men and women as we age, and gentle resistance or weight training helps strengthen our bones. Sciatica is a silent assassin, but gentle yoga or tai chi can be a welcome relief. Keeping moving is a great way to exercise the ideal senior independent living!
Now, we’re not saying sign up for a multi-sport race or the Auckland marathon (although don’t let us stop you!), but keeping our bodies moving helps to prevent illness, and a healthy body is often the way to a healthy mind!
Myth: Your Brain Won’t Be What It Used to Be
Dementia and deteriorating mental health are often a concern for older people. To expect dementia is a harmful myth about aging, and we’re here to debunk it.
Dementia is a serious condition that isn’t part of the normal aging process. Sure, a little wear and tear means we might not be as quick on the cards, and forgetfulness is common, but that doesn’t mean dementia is imminent. As we’ve said before, if we keep our bodies and brains active, dementia is less likely to loom, and we can keep bright, lively minds that serve us through our golden years.
Myth: We Need Less Sleep When We Get Older
Here’s a common myth about aging that needs to be put to bed. As we age, we don’t suddenly become early morning starlings or late-night owls only needing five hours of shut-eye. As we age, we still need to ensure we’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep. However, getting older means our circadian rhythm, which follows the days’ patterns, becomes fragmented. This means that though getting to or staying asleep may be harder, naps are more important.
So, bring a little European getaway into your North Shore retirement apartment. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a luxurious siesta?
Age however you wish, with grace or with vigour!
While some people find it easy to give in to the many myths about aging, we can carve our own path through elderhood.
While some are content with slowing down, we needn’t be hemmed in by common aging myths. Our later years are an opportunity to do different things or seek different ways of doing and being.
Albany’s Settlers retirement apartments on the North Shore offer independent senior living so you can control how you live. You don’t have to conform to the adage of vintage retirement homes; have your own space to move your way. Get in touch with Settlers Albany today to see the range of apartments on offer to suit your elderhood lifestyle.