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Health Brief

August 31, 2020

Many people make assumptions about aging and how older age will affect them. Research has shown that you can help preserve your health and mobility as you age by adopting or continuing healthy habits. Let’s look at 10 myths about aging.

  1. Depression and loneliness are normal in older adults. Though some may find themselves feeling isolated or alone; which may lead to depression, anxiety or sadness, this is not part of the normal aging process.
  2. The older one gets, the less sleep is needed. Although it may be more difficult to get to and stay asleep as we age, older adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Adequate sleep can reduce your risk of falls and improve your overall sense of well-being.
  3. Older adults cannot learn new things. This is a hard NO! Age does not affect our ability to learn new things. Nor to create new memories. The brain’s plasticity allows us to learn new things throughout the lifespan.
  4. It is inevitable that older adults will get dementia. Another hard NO! Although the risk of dementia increases with age; it is not a foregone conclusion. There is a lot one can do to prevent dementia…. (Here’s a shameless plug for the Boost Your Brain and Memory class.)
  5. Older adults should take it easy and avoid exercise or physical activity. Studies repeatedly show “If you don’t use it, You lose it”. In fact, there is much to gain by remaining or increasing your physical activity.
  6. If a family member has Alzheimer’s Disease, I will too. Family history only contributes about 30% of your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. There is a good deal one can do to control, delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. (Another shameless plug for BYB.)
  7. I have to give up driving when I get older. The question of when it is time to limit or stop driving should not be about age, but rather about one’s ability to drive safely. Granted, there are natural changes that occur in the body which can impact the decision of when to stop driving.
  8. Only women need to worry about osteoporosis. Although more common in women, the disease can and does affect men. Men are often underdiagnosed, especially men over the age of 70 y/o.
  9. I’m too old to quit smoking. It won’t do any good. It does not matter how old you are or how long you have been a smoker. The human body shows signs of improvement even hours after your last smoke. Improved circulation and lung function, fewer colds, a decreased risk for many types of cancer and improved sleep are a few positive changes of smoking cessation.
  10. My blood pressure has returned to normal so I can stop taking my medication. Your blood pressure has improved BECAUSE of the medication. If you stop taking it your blood pressure could rise again. Talk with your medical provider before you make any changes to your medication regimen.

Answers to “Threezers”:

  • Koalas, Peaches, Mirror dice - They are fuzzy
  • Cookies, Donuts, Basketballs - They are dunked
  • Time, doctors, Obedient dogs - They heal (heel)
  • A cook, A movie critic, A gold prospector - They have pans

Enjoy the Day!

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