Getting Older Shouldn’t Be Something You’re Ashamed Of
In the United States, people are always trying to find new ways to look younger. From Botox to fillers to more invasive surgery, procedures designed for capturing youth are big business; however, getting older is natural, and it brings a lot of wisdom and great life experiences. Rather than being ashamed of getting older, people should learn to accept and embrace the passage of time. As the senior demographic continues to grow in size, more people are approaching aging with a more optimistic attitude and are making changes to the common stigmas that face older people.
Older People Are Becoming More Financially Secure
With the collapse of the economy in 2008, many people’s retirement savings took a considerable hit, but the current generation of seniors is working to be more financially independent than its predecessors. This generation is fighting to prevent age discrimination against those who want to work well into their golden years. According to the American Psychological Association, “Psychological science clearly demonstrates that employment for many older workers enhances self-esteem, increases feelings of competence, and sustains autonomy, self-direction and intellectual engagement. Employment can also provide social and emotional support.” By allowing people to choose when they want to retire rather than forcing them, more seniors can retain a lifelong positive self image.
Accepting Your Age Doesn’t Mean Accepting Stereotypes
One of the reasons people become ashamed with being older is because we have been culturally programmed to see fixed stereotypes with certain ages. In a blog post on SeniorPlanet.org titled, “Just Moving Through Time,” Dr. Christiane Northrup gives advice on embracing the aging process: “Age is just a number, and agelessness means not buying into the idea that a number determines everything from your state of health to your attractiveness to your value.”
The American Psychological Association gives similar advice. Rather than approaching the aging process with dread, the organization recommends continuing to be socially and physically active. “Psychological research has also found that staying physically, cognitively and socially active prolongs vitality and provides a host of physical and psychological benefits. APA’s Committee and Office on Aging are very active in ensuring that policymakers consider these findings, which could lead us to a healthier, happier and more prosperous society.”
Being Physically Active Can Help You Feel Vital
The benefits of regular physical activity have long been touted, and it is important to remain active throughout your life. Being physically active not only combats many physical ailments and diseases, but it also has a positive impact on mentality. According to the National Institute of Health, “Regular, moderate physical activity can help manage stress and improve your mood. And, being active on a regular basis may help reduce feelings of depression. Studies also suggest that exercise can improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function, such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.”
As you get older, you may not be able to maintain the same level of activity, but there are many adaptive recreation programs available for people with different needs. Finding an exercise routine that is still comfortable with whatever limitations you may have is a key component of staying active.
With advances in medicine and more people taking preventative measures to stave off serious illness, people are living full, active lives for longer than ever. Maintaining healthy social relationships, watching what you eat and maintaining physical activity can help you feel your best far into the future, so there is no reason to see old age as something that causes shame. People are now living fulfilling lives well into their senior years, and achieving goals they set decades earlier. Getting older is no longer cause for fear, but cause for celebrating and enjoying the fruits of your labor.