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By Myra Hotchkiss

Three myths about aging and seniors busted

Society is rife with myths concerning the elderly. Phrases like "old people are cute" appear on social media every day. Movies and videos portray the elderly stereotypically. It's sad that people actually believe these things.

Seniors form the largest demographic today. People are living longer, living healthier lives and remaining active into very old age. The elderly are even taking fewer medications due to their healthier diets and physical fitness. Social media, volunteering and family activities are making senior depression a thing of the past.

Still, the myths linger. Here are three myths concerning seniors that we are happy to bust!

Myth one: aging is depressing and lonely

Many people fear the isolation and loneliness of being elderly. Some seniors have lost spouses and children. Others never married, so they have no one to visit them. However, studies show that seniors are happy people. The happy curve begins in youth, stagnates around the age of 40, and then trends upwards once again in older age. If a person is happy in their youth, then they will be happy in older age, say the studies. Grumpy old folks began that way, the studies tell us. The personality goes with us into old age. Busted: Seniors are getting out and walking, running marathons, volunteering, socializing at the town hall or the senior centers in town. Because fitness is being paid for by the government, seniors are meeting other seniors at the gym. They're not sitting at home staring forlornly out the window.

Myth two: aging means Alzheimer's Disease

While it's true that aging changes the brain, it's also true that other changes are a good thing. Let's say seniors forget why they entered a room. Alternatively, seniors make better decisions than they did in youth. They now have a motherboard in their brains containing knowledge and experiences. The decisions reached from this will be good. Seniors often appear to be slow in response to verbal exchange. Those who don't exercise the muscle regularly take more time to retrieve information. Seniors who socialize, make new experiences, and keep abreast of news and entertainment take less time to respond to verbal exchanges. Busted: The more seniors interact and try new things, the less chance the brain will have to short-circuit and encounter dementia.

Myth three: seniors don't have sex

Au contraire, mon petit frere. They've retired, the kids are grown and gone, and they have time for quality time. Older couples find this new lack of responsibilities a turn-on in itself. They hold hands more, hug and kiss more, as well as take more time before the act. There's Viagra if the elderly person has difficulty with arousal. It comes in pink, as well as blue. Lubricating lotions and jellies are now water-based for less mess and aggravation. Condoms are lubricated also. When a partner has health problems, other forms of intimacy are just as enjoyable. Busted: Studies show that seniors are as sexually active as young people. Stereotypes, though, can make the elderly feel guilty or ashamed of their sexual activity.

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