Seniors aged 65 or older are the fastest-growing demographic group today. This trend will only rise as those who make up the baby boomer generation hit retirement age. This increase of senior citizens over the next decade will create new jobs in the healthcare field. If you work in a nursing home or retirement community or hope to in the future, it’s important to know that not everything you have been taught about seniors is true. Here are some of the most common stereotypes about aging proved untrue.
Seniors Lose Cognitive Ability
It is common to think that seniors become stubborn and easily confused as they get older. On the contrary, most older individuals do not lose any cognitive function whatsoever. Although the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease does increase after the age of 70, the causes of these issues have more to do with genetics and environmental exposure than age.
Seniors are Weak
Another timeless myth about seniors is that their bones become brittle and weak, susceptible to falling and breaking bones. While it is true that osteoporosis risks increase with age, more seniors are choosing to make healthy lifestyle changes. Walking or jogging, eating properly, and not smoking can lead to more seniors never developing this bone depreciation disease.
Seniors Suffer Hearing and Vision Loss
You may have heard someone raise their voice when speaking to a senior, believing that because they were old, they were also hard of hearing. You may have also done this yourself. However, not everyone slowly loses their hearing or ability to see as they age.
When adults get regular exams for hearing and vision, they are less likely to develop these losses as they age. Hearing impairment is usually due to excessive exposure to loud noises, not the aging process. While vision can change with age, with the proper eye care, it is not uncommon for someone to have no trouble with their vision as they age. And if they do, the difficulty usually stems from surrounding distractions while trying to focus on something.
Those who work in the geriatric field are frequently faced with these — and many other — aging myths. For those who hope to obtain a gerontology degree and pursue a career in the geriatric healthcare field, it would be wise to remember that aging individuals have been mislabeled and misjudged. There is a stark difference between the patients that they will encounter and the stereotypes that they were led to believe about them.
The truth is that aging adults can be just as healthy as someone younger than them. It is a fact that some seniors can become depressed or suffer a mental health condition. However, the cause is often the result of isolation or a chronic health condition, such as diabetes. If seniors stay active, eat nutritious meals, get proper sleep, and maintain a healthy social life, they will typically say that they feel happy and healthy.