As we get older, our minds and bodies begin to decline, making life less enjoyable. This is one of the many myths most people believe in when it comes to aging.
However, in many ways, scientific research shows that life gets better as we get older. Sure, growing older will still have its challenges, but our moods and overall sense of well-being improve with age.
Here are six prevalent myths about aging:
1. Depression is more prevalent in old age.
As we age, we tend to prioritize emotional meaning and satisfaction, which gives us the incentive of seeing more good than bad in life. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that only 5.5% of adults 50+ experienced a major depression episode in 2012, while the depression rate was higher for people ages 18-49.
In general, older adults tend to be happier, less anxious, less angry, and tend to adapt well to their circumstances.
2. Cognitive decline is inevitable.
Recent discoveries show that older adults perform better in the real world than they do on cognitive tests due to their knowledge and experience.
As we grow older, it’s up to YOU to keep your brain active and learn new skills. Learning new skills such as quilting, how to use an iPad or smartphone, will significantly improve your memory along with your brain processing speed.
3. Older workers are less productive.
Workers 55 or older make up 22% of the U.S. labor force, up from 12% in 1992. The Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy conducted a survey where they examined the number and severity of errors 3,800 workers made on a Mercedes-Benz assembly line from 2003 to 2006. Over a 4 year period, older workers committed slightly fewer severe errors, while younger workers’ severe error rates edged up.
Older workers know ways to avoid severe errors based on their past experience, proving the point that there’s no relationship between age and job performance.
4. Loneliness is more likely.
By age 50, people are still adding to their social networks. After that, they begin to filter people out of their network they feel less close to, making them more emotionally satisfied.
By filtering people out their network, older adults feel much closer to their loved ones and mean more than ever to them, significantly decreasing their chance of loneliness.
5. Creativity declines with age.
In fields that require accumulated knowledge, creative peaks typically occur later in life, typically in our 60s, according to Dean Simonton, a psychology professor at the University of California.
People who did their greatest work during their 40s, 50s, and 60s tend to rely more on their wisdom, which increases with age, keeping their creativity skill at a high level. 6. More Exercise Is Better.
As we grow older, exercise is important as many of us know. However, it’s key not to overdo it. Long-term strenuous endurance exercise may cause overuse injury to the heart.
You don’t need to run a marathon every day. Stick to a moderate cardiovascular workout of no more than 30 miles a week or 50 to 60 minutes of vigorous exercise a day, and take at least one day off each week.
As we just learned, life gets better as we get older. However, while we’re still cognitive enough, it’s critical to take your retirement plan seriously, especially if you’re 50+. The Department of Labor, Social Security Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services just published a special retirement report and we put together a timeline to help you understand what you need to do.
If you live in the Everett, WA area would like to find out more about investing for your future, contact a local Everett, Washington Financial Planner for more information.creativity increases with accumulated knowledge, creativity peaks with age, Department of Health and Human Services, Financial Planning, keep your brain active and learn new skills, knowledge and experience helping older workers in the labor force compete, older people have better mental health, older people narrow down their social networks to create more emotionally satisfying relationships, retirement and savings, six prevalent myths about aging, Social Security Administration, The Department of Labor, The Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, The National Institute of Mental Health, tips for self improvement in old age