Common Myths about Aging

Vicky Pitner   -  

Aging is a journey. We all want to maintain a positive attitude and feel good about ourselves by keeping fit and healthy. But often, the misconceptions we believe about aging can prevent us from living life to the fullest and affect our quality of life.

Many make assumptions about aging and what it is like to grow “old.” But it is important to understand what aging is not. According to the National Institute on Aging, below are common misconceptions or myths related to aging.

  • Depression and loneliness are normal in older adults. Not true. Healthy and long-lasting relationships with family and friends show that older adults are less likely to experience depression. However, isolation can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and sadness. Depression is a serious mood disorder and can present differently in older adults.
  • The older I get, the less sleep I need. False. Actually, older adults need the same 7-9 hours of sleep, the same as all adults. Having difficulty falling or staying asleep should be addressed with your doctor. Inadequate sleep can increase your risk of falls, cause changes in your eating patterns, and affect your mood and overall well-being.
  • I’m too old to learn. Wrong! Seeking out new hobbies and engaging in social activities will keep your brain active and boost your cognitive health.
  • It is inevitable that older people will get dementia. Let’s be clear, dementia is not a part of normal aging, although risks can increase as you get older. Forgetting appointments or misplacing objects can be signs of mild forgetfulness, but memory loss is much more serious. If you do have concerns about any cognitive changes as you age, speak to your doctor. The earlier any concern is identified and addressed can result in early interventions and the ability to maintain independence longer.
  • Only women need to worry about osteoporosis. Far from the truth! Although this disease is more common in women, it is still a concern for men. Men will start with more bone density than women. However, one in five men over the age of 50 will have osteoporosis-related fractures. By the age of 65 or 70, men and women lose bone mass at the same rate.
  • I’m too old to quit smoking. Nope. Quitting smoking will immediately improve your health. You are at a lower risk for colds and flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia, and stopping smoking will lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • I can stop taking my blood pressure medication because my blood pressure is lower. Nope! If you are taking medication to lower your blood pressure and your blood pressure goes down, it means that the medication and lifestyle changes are working! Always speak to your doctor about any changes in medications, but quitting the medicine can cause a rise again in your blood pressure and increase your risk for a stroke or kidney disease.
  • Aging does not have to cause fear. Maintaining your health by staying active, eating well, and getting the proper amount of sleep will serve you well and can lead to a wonderful and exciting time in your life!

For support in practical caregiving strategies or information on our Memory Ministry, Memory Café, or Virtual Caregivers Support Group, please contact Vicky at