True or false ?
- Old dogs may not be able to learn new tricks, but old people can have a pet dog.
- We think of older people as doddering – because when they run marathons they walk.
- You can make a difference in how you age by how you live, how you eat, sleep and move. (see #2, #10, #13)
- It’s not recommended for old people to exercise, you could get hurt-so do not do it! (see #14)
- Mental disorders are hard to treat in older people because they refuse to believe they are disordered.
- If you hire an older worker, you often get more for less, more or less . . .
- Older people often use retirement as an excuse (to sleep in and watch day-time TV).
- You do not think as well when you are older (you have long ago learned that critical thinking is not appreciated).
- Watch out for old drivers, they cause accidents, accidentally.
- Older people have great sex with abandon (they have no worry about ending up with more kids).
- Older people, who still use crayons to draw, are not creative.
- If you are tech savvy you were born after 2000. (Prior to 1999 horses were ridden to deliver H-messages)
- Don’t bother losing weight or quitting smoking (if you are older, it won’t help, nor do you care cuz you are already old).
- Older people can’t recover from injury, so they better eat as much as they want smoke whatever they want (after sex) and color outside the lines with crayons.
The Truth About Older People*
Send these FACTS to your children, grandchildren and anyone born after 2000!
1. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.
FACT: There are many positive cognitive changes in older age and there are many techniques to support lifelong learning. In fact, our brains experience new growth of neurons in response to challenges throughout the life span.. Older persons can benefit from the same memory strategies that young persons use to improve recall. (young people don’t think they need to improve their memory until they are old)
2. All older persons experience dementia.
FACT: Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Most older persons do not experience dementia. Only about 3.6 percent of US adults aged sixty-five to seventy-five have dementia. Further, there is evidence that dementia rates have been declining over time. (this isn’t the only thing that declines . . )
3. Older persons’ health is entirely determined by biology.
FACT: Our team has found that culture, in the form of age beliefs, can have a powerful influence on the health of older persons. For instance, positive age beliefs can benefit their health in multiple ways, such as reducing cardiovascular stress and improving memory. In contrast, negative age beliefs can have a detrimental impact on these aspects of health. We also found that positive age beliefs amplified the beneficial impact of APOE ε2, a gene that often benefits cognition in later life.
4. Older persons are fragile, so they should avoid exercise.
FACT: Most older persons can exercise without injury. The World Health Organization recommends that older persons regularly exercise because this can benefit cardiovascular and mental health, as well as lead to stronger bones and muscles. (does vigorously rocking in rocking chairs count as exercise?)
5. Most older people suffer from mental illness that can’t be treated.
FACT: Most older persons do not suffer from mental illness. Studies show that often happiness increases, whereas depression, anxiety, and substance abuse decline in later life. Further, older persons usually benefit from mental health treatment including psychotherapy.
6. Older workers aren’t effective in the workplace.
FACT: Older workers take fewer days off for sickness, benefit from experience, have strong work ethics, and are often innovative. Teams that include older persons have been found to be more effective than teams that do not. (all reasons to retire early?)
7. Older persons are selfish and don’t contribute to society.
FACT: Be verrrrrry kind to older people because . . . .
They are the age group that is most likely to recycle and make philanthropic gifts. In older age, altruistic motivations become stronger, while narcissistic values wane in influence. Older persons often engage in legacy thinking, which involves wanting to create a better world for future generations. Also, in most families, there is a downward flow of income with more funds going from older adults to grown children than from grown children to older adults.
8. Cognition inevitably declines in old age.
FACT: A number of types of cognition improve in later life, among them: metacognition or thinking about thinking; taking into account multiple perspectives; solving interpersonal and intergroup conflicts; and semantic memory. Other types of cognition tend to stay the same, such as procedural memory, which includes routine behaviors like riding a bike. Further, I have found that strengthening positive age beliefs can successfully improve the types of memory that are thought to decline in later life.
9. Older persons are bad drivers.
FACT: The absolute number of crashes involving older drivers is low. They are more likely to use seat belts and follow speed limits. Also, they are less likely to drive while texting, while intoxicated, or at night. (possibly comes from horses and donkeys being their only mode of transportation while growing up?).
10. Older persons don’t have sex.
FACT: Most older persons continue to enjoy a physically and emotionally fulfilling sex life. A survey found that 72 percent of older adults have a romantic partner and, of those, most are sexually active.(28% of older people are possibly scrolling through dating apps looking for young, virile partners?)
11. Older persons lack creativity.
FACT: Creativity often continues and even increases in later life. Numerous artists, including Henri Matisse, are credited with producing their most innovative works at an older age. Successful start-ups are more likely to be run by entrepreneurs over fifty than under thirty. Older persons are often leaders in innovation and use it to revitalize communities. (since they can’t revitalize themselves, they do it to communities?).
12. Older persons are technologically challenged.
FACT: Older persons possess the ability to adapt to, learn, and invent new technology. Three-quarters of those fifty and older use social media on a regular basis; 67 percent of those sixty-five and older use the internet and 81 percent aged sixty to sixty-nine use smartphones.45,46 Some older persons have led advances in technology, including MIT professor Mildred Dresselhaus, who innovated the field of nanotechnology in her seventies.
13. Older persons don’t benefit from healthy behaviors.
FACT: It is never too late to benefit from healthy behaviors. For example, older persons who quit smoking show improvement to their lung health within a few months. Similarly, older persons who overcome obesity show improvement to cardiovascular health. (no mention of healthy sex?)
14 Older persons don’t recover from injury.
FACT: Most older people who become injured show recovery, and older persons with positive age beliefs are significantly more likely to fully recover . . . . (so they have more time to spend all their money and not leave it to those who don’t appreciate them).
Positive age beliefs can keep you vibrant as you age.
*From “Breaking the Age Code” by Becca Levy (except for everything printed in RED which must be blamed on Judy who is, by all measures, an expert on being old)