ageist-stereotype

7 Myths About Old People

It’s not often that a young lifestyle blogger decides to tackle ageism. So we were intrigued when we discovered on the blogging site All Women Stalk, crammed between “8 ways to add color to your wardrobe” and “7 awesome books to read if you love vampires,” this blog post by Marquitta Fields: “7 common myths about older adults you should know.”

The blog post begins, “In today’s society many young people have negative attitudes toward adults over the age of 65 based off of stereotypes and myths.”

Right on, Marquitta.

The bloggers list of myths does a great job of encapsulating popular stereotypes. Here it is, along with a sampling of her myth-smashing opinions and facts:

Myth #1 “Most older adults live in nursing homes and cannot get around by themselves”

In fact, Fields points out, only five percent of older adults live in nursing homes, and most are totally mobile. So, where does this myth come from? “The media is always showing a family putting the wretched mother-in-law in a home, or a grandparent who needs a nurse 24/7,” she says.

Myth #2 “Older adults do little more than sit around, watch television, and sleep”

The truth: “Older adults have many interests and sleep fewer hours per day than most younger adults. I know this is a fact, because my grandmother and great-grandmother are amazingly active!”

People, turn off the TV and go post on a young ‘uns Facebook wall; make sure they know how active you are. There’s no better way to kill ageist stereotypes.

Myth #3 “Older adults who continue to work are inefficient and miss many work days due to illness”

Fact: “Older adults who work are extremely productive and are rarely late or absent.” Fields refers to a documentary about an older employee that she watched in her “older adults class.” (Maybe all schools should make Older Adults 101 a required course?)

Myth #4 “Older adults are lonely and depressed”

Wrong – though Fields does say that older people with families are the most likely to be satisfied with their lives.

Myth #5 “People over 65 have diseases and disorders that limits their freedom to do what they want”

Uh-uh. In fact, a lot of oldsters are in better shape than their grandkids. “My grandfather is 67, and he’s a personal trainer at a well known fitness center,” Fields says. (Note to selves: personal trainer could be a trending second-act career.)

Myth #6 “Older adults aren’t interested in people of the opposite sex”

As senior sexpert Joan Price says, there’s a “ew” response among young people when the thought of older people “doing it” so much as crosses their minds. (Click here to read our Q&A with Price.) Fields knows better: “Older people have needs just like younger people, and that doesn’t change with age,” she says. Thank you!

Myth #7 “Older adults are obsessed with death and dying. They fear death more than any other age group”

Fields says: “Many people are afraid to talk to older adults, because they believe that they’ll talk about how it’s almost their time. Remember that most adults don’t obsess about that, and you’ll find it a lot easier and less stressful to hold a conversation with an older adult.”

Marquitta, we love you.

Click here to see what Marquitta Fields has to say about all seven myths.
Click here to learn more about Fields.

Click here to read “A Guide to Ageism for Media Peeps (and Everyone Else)”

Which of these seven myths affects you most in your life? Or what common myth has Fields left out? Comment below.

8 comments
  • Nita Neyland
    REPLY

    Senior Planet

    My 87 year old mother has lived by her monto ; Never think that you are old – always live your lfe and go on as normal for as long as you are able and my mother does just that.

    Also I have heard these “Myths” there are all different types of people out there and also their is good reason as to why elderly abuse exists.

    • Barbara. Senior Plaet editor
      REPLY

      Hi Donna, we are quoting a blogger and we link to her blog, as well as to her info. As you can see, some of the information is based on her personal connections and some is based on studies she has read. That said, we do not quote irresponsibly on SeniorPlanet.org. We follow the the research on aging, and the points that this blogger makes are reflected in recent study findings.

  • Wanda Huttner/bestgirl
    REPLY

    Which of these seven myths affects you most in your life? Or what common myth has Fields left out?
    My answer to both questions? None. Perhaps because the people I associate with, which include people from early 20s to my age (84), don’t share any of these so-called myths. I would be curious as to where these myths come from and how many people are even aware of them. They sound a bit made-up to me.

    • Barbara, Senior Planet editor
      REPLY

      Hi Wanda, thanks for commenting. These myths, listed in a post by young blogger Marquitta Fields, were based on the attitudes she sees among her friends and acquaintances. The people you associate with don’t hold stereotypical views of seniors, and if they did, they probably would only hang out with people their age. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of people who believe the myths.

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