Seven Aging Myths That Lead to Insults


Myths prevent us from understanding aging.
  • Many of our most sacred beliefs about aging are based on myths.
  • As long as we believe myths, the needs of seniors will be ignored.
  • Our treatment of an aging population should be based on research, not myths.

In a shopping mall, I watched a young couple forced to reduce their pace as they approached an elderly man using a cane, slowly walking in the same direction. Unable to pass him because foot traffic was heavy, they exchanged snarky expressions. Eventually, he entered a store, and the couple resumed their pace. The young man, imitating the elder, said to his girlfriend, “When I get that old, shoot me.” If he had asked for assistance, I would have been delighted to offer it—even early.

Aging is viewed by many young people with the same discomfort experienced when a strange relative comes uninvited to a family gathering. And just as most people at the event hope to avoid interacting with him, so do younger people with the vision of growing older.

See the Seven Myths in Psychology Today

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