There’s no such thing as the fountain of youth – and there’s certainly no cure for ageing. But according to a recent study conducted by medication giant Pfizer andseveral other prominent health advocacy organizations, your attitude towards ageing is important. The study itself was meant to spark conversation on the topic of ageing in order to dispel myths and combat the all-too-common fear of ageing.
According to the study, age itself can play a role in how you feel about getting older. Findings from the study indicated that 24% of people over the age of 18 admit to having lied about their age, compared to only 21% of 50-64-year-olds and 18% of those over the age of 65.
When participants were asked how they felt about getting older, 39% of people said they were “optimistic.” But this percentage was nearly matched by the amount of people who felt “uneasy” about ageing (36%). Interestingly, 50-64 year-olds were the most positive age group, with 42% reporting that they were “optimistic” about getting older.
Experts have interpreted these results as an indicator of the freedoms that come with age. Between the ages of 50-64, relationships are often already solidified and individuals are under less pressure at work. Some might even be retiring or dropping down to working part-time.
Other findings described our biggest age-related fears. Amongst people over 65, only 7% stated that they were afraid to die, whereas 64% were afraid to live in pain or lose their independence. As the most significant age-related fear, this is something that should be targeted in open and realistic discussions of ageing.
Interestingly, it isn’t the younger generation that is refusing to provide care for their ageing parents. Over half (51%) of those aged 18 to 65 stated that they would be willing to have a parent live with them if necessary, whereas only 25% of people over 65 agreed to live with a child or younger relative if their health failed and they were unable to take care of themselves. Perhaps parents have become too proud to admit it when they need help.
The study was meant to serve as a conversation-starter about ageing by identifying how Americans from every age bracket feel towards ageing. It seemed like people were more likely to have a more positive attitude towards getting older as it happened; that is, they were able to move towards acceptance.
As a society, we seem to have an unreasonable fear of ageing. In fact, from an early age we are taught to value youth, beauty, and superficial things like money. Old people are often mistreated or seen as a burden to society. Unfortunately, these harmful and damaging attitudes do nothing to help people accept growing older as a part of life. Study organizers stated that the findings from the study would be included in a new website designed to help people ease their fears about ageing and ease into old age.