Seniors and Stereotypes: Myths of Aging

 
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Seniors are typically thought of as gentle people who want to maintain independence as long as possible, but there are a whole host of stereotypes out there about aging that just aren’t true.

Myth: Seniors Don’t Care About the World

This myth falls under what logicians call “the psychologist’s fallacy” in which people presuppose the thoughts of another based on their own. Each senior differs on an individual basis on what they look for in the world, with some preferring to stay at home as they’ve always done, and others maintaining an outgoing life into their 80s. And with the senior portion of the population set to very quickly become a large demographic, a lot of them will care very greatly about the world around them.

Myth: Seniors Don’t Have Much Left to Contribute

If contribute is defined as being able to haul heavy boxes around for 12 hours straight, then no, seniors don’t have much left to “contribute.” But taking a look at the years they’ve lived and experience they’ve accumulated says otherwise. Seniors can be a goldmine in terms of wealth of knowledge and wisdom, and tend to have a stronger work ethic than youngsters.

Myth: Seniors Are Stuck in Their Ways

While it’s true that brain maps solidify with age the same way toboggan tracks get deeper with every run, it’s far from impossible to form new habits. But using the same brush to paint all seniors is like saying all teens are up to no good: people who have certain personality traits, with some of them being cheerful, helpful dispositions and some of them needing a bit of unearthing to get to the good core.

Myth: Seniors Can’t Learn Technology

Seniors are just as eager as the rest of the population to learn the ins and outs of technology, but not having grown up with it the way Millennials have, the task can be daunting. Imagine telling a 25-year-old to learn a foreign language in three months, and then deriding them every step of the way for not magically knowing how to conjugate verbs properly. Progress doesn’t happen overnight, but the effort is there.

Myth: Seniors are Sitting on Piles of Money

Not every senior has a comfortable pension that lets them retire in the lifestyle to which they’ve grown accustomed. A poor person isn’t usually poor because of a string of bad luck–although that does happen–but because they haven’t mastered good money savvy. As well, seniors are facing longer life spans, which comes along with more healthcare costs on the same fixed income. Finally, not every pension plan was thought out as good as it could have been, which means seniors are stuck with someone else’s lack of financial acumen.

Myth: Seniors Don’t Want Sex

Seniors might not be the rabbit-y characters that teens are, but they still enjoy engaging in the physical side of their relationships. They still enjoy sex, and just make adjustments based on their physical capabilities.

Myth: Seniors Do Nothing But Play Cards and Bingo All Day

This myth is perpetuated in movies and television, showing seniors passing the day away clustered around tables and playing “senior” games. But these activities aren’t just restricted to seniors, and seniors don’t just restrict themselves to these games, choosing to take part in the community in non-stereotypical ways.

Myth: Seniors Are a Burden on Society

Nothing could be further from the truth. Societal burdens are those who are only interested in taking without ever giving, and that’s an individual character trait, not one that can be tied back to a general demographic. Many seniors fear either becoming burdens or being viewed as burdens, and will go to great deals not to be.

There are many myths and stereotypes that surround seniors, and dispelling them can help bridge the gap between seniors and everyone else. After all, it’s only a matter of time before we all become seniors.

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