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Busting the old age myth: Top 5 tips about growing old

Apr 23, 2012, 6 a.m.

The fear of growing old can paralyze you. It can turn a happy person sour, and it can ruin what should otherwise be the best part of your life: your golden years. Everyone wants to achieve the aim of growing old gracefully, but there are a number of myths out there that are simply serving to scare the pants off anyone verging on the age of 55. Here's a list of the top 5 myths about growing older, and what you can do to conquer your fear of growing old.

  1. Myth #1: Growing old gracefully means you have to accept memory loss as inevitable. This isn't the case. Although it's entirely natural for the aging brain to become forgetful, full-blown amnesia or dementia is not typical. The best news is, there are plenty of brain exercises you can do to keep your mind fit that will improve your memory into your senior years.
  2. Myth #2: Old dogs can't learn new tricks. This might be true of some four-legged creatures, but check yourself -- you're not a dog, and you're significantly more capable of learning new things at an advanced age than the average Fido.
  3. Myth #3: Bad health is just a part of growing old. Yes, there are some diseases that are more common among older folks, but that doesn't mean you're guaranteed to get them. Eating right and exercising can help keep you healthy into your senior years.
  4. Myth #4: There's no such thing as sex in your senior years. Of all of the myths that abound, this is the one that has the greatest potential to instill in people the fear of growing old. Granted, sexual drives diminish with age. But this doesn't mean that the average senior will have to live a sexless existence. As long as you're willing to try new things and break out of old habits, you should be able to stay sexually active as long as you so desire.
  5. Myth #5: Growing older means not being able to contribute to society anymore. Far too many people take the view that the older they get, the less valuable they'll be. But the fact is, there are innumerable opportunities for seniors to "give back" by sharing their vast wealth of knowledge and experience, engaging in volunteer activities like mentoring or tutoring. Some older adults even decide retirement isn't for them and return to the workforce, bringing with them the kind of work ethic that's hard to find among much younger people.

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