Seniors: Myths of Growing Older

May 12th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Someone wrote in asking about “myths related to senior citizens.”  I am sure they must have something specific in mind.  I have no idea what myths they may be wondering about, but the following will comprise my ideas of myths that relate to seniors.

Seniors are crotchety and complaining  Some seniors are.  And that is the rule for perceiving any group of people.  Just because a few may be, doesn’t mean that all are.  That is called stereotyping. You don’t like it done to you, thus don’t do it to others.

Seniors are opinionated and rigid.  Some are.  But many have come to that time when mellowing is the preferred choice of behavior.  Demonstrating placid and tranquil equanimity is usually the goal of older persons.  They do not wish to be seen as flighty, mean, or belittling.  Wisdom is a goal to be desired and exercised, without showing off or appearing to be a know it all.

Seniors are easily offended or tend to get “their feelings hurt” often.  Some do.  But most have learned how to cope with unintended insults or slights.  The world does not center itself on the senior nor does he or she expect everyone to handle them with kid gloves.

Seniors are forgetful.  Some are.  Many adjust to aging and its implications quite well.  Forgetfulness is a characteristic of some in aging.  It does not have to be life threatening or something to fear.  Adjusting to memory loss requires the sensitivity and support of others.  This includes patience and careful tending of the relationship and not calling attention to being forgetful.

 Seniors are, by nature, hard to get along with.  Not so.  They are subject, as are many of us, to depression, occasional anger, unpredicatable moods.  Learning how to control those behaviors is a challenge to seniors, as well as anyone else.  Behaviors of this kind are likely subject to a doctor’s visit to determine whether there are chemical imbalances or other physical/medical issues that need to be identified.

Seniors are inconsiderate and stingy.  Usually such persons are dealing with insecurities having to do with their own personal situation e.g. economic or fear of loneliness and the need to continue to appear to be in control.  Most seniors, however, seem to be thoughtful, include others in their circle and are generous with their time and gifts, tangible and intangible.

There are probably many others.  Think about the seniors you know.  Develop a list of positive characteristics  that defines them.  Consider and compare the negatives.  Likely, you will find that for the most part, most of the time seniors, like everyone else, want to get along and to be happy and serene in their life choices.  Helping them do that becomes a way to develop your own personality and refusal to be characterized by negative myths.

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