For 99 per cent of human history, the average life expectancy was under 18 years of age.

So, it’s not surprising that getting older and living beyond the average life expectancy led to common, quite unattractive assumptions about aging and old age.

Astonishing public health improvements resulted in a life expectancy close to 50 years by around 1900 and close to 80 years within the last two decades.

But, those unattractive, and mostly negative, assumptions about aging and old age have remained with us despite the spectacular increase in life expectancy.

What now can be called ’myths’ of aging, persist:

Myth 1:  To be old is to be sick.

Actually, most older people today are still able to live independently in their own homes until they reach very advanced age.

Myth 2:  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

In fact, older people can easily make changes to improve their lives and situation.

Myth 3:  The secret to successful aging is to choose your parents wisely.

Genetics are not the only factors determining how we age.  The good news is that social and behavioural factors within our control also play and important role in shaping health and well being.

Hopefully, the above information has helped you alter your perception of the meaning of aging and your assumptions related to it.

For advice about seniors and care at home, visit www.laservices.ca.

 

Story submitted by Brian Porter, M. Ed., CP.C.A.

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