How Older Women Can Beat Aging Stereotypes
The feminist movement has taken great strides since the 1960s, but older women still face a number of hurtful and harmful stereotypes.
Society may perceive older women as physically vulnerable, socially needy, unattractive, and less useful than their younger counterparts of childbearing and child-rearing age.
As a result, older women may experience self-esteem issues and even suffer from depression, which can then lead to physical ailments, reduced immunity, and diseases.
It’s a vicious circle.
Fortunately, women of all ages can beat the cycle by taking positive action against aging stereotypes.
Let’s look at three harmful stereotypes of older women and healthy ways to defeat these perceptions and prove that older women are very capable.
Stereotype: Older women are not tech-savvy and don’t understand computers, smartphones, and other modern devices.
Most of us have, at one time or another, been in the position of explaining email to an aging parent or showing a senior how Siri works. But if you showed a five-year-old a record player, they probably wouldn’t have a clue how to use it, either.
It’s not that seniors can’t learn technology. It’s just new and unfamiliar to them.
However, most seniors are willing to learn. Older women can bust the tech-stereotype by taking classes in anything from graphic design to spreadsheets. They can be successful eBay sellers, bloggers, and even Web designers.
All it takes is some practice and patience.
Stereotype: Older women are frail.
It’s true that post-menopausal women are at greater risk of osteoporosis, or low bone density, which can increase the risk of fractures. But most senior women are anything but weak or frail. Osteoporosis risk factors may be reduced by a healthy lifestyle, which includes:
- not smoking
- reducing alcohol consumption
- exercising regularly
- getting a bone density scan annually after the age of 65
Hormone replacement therapy to replace estrogen lost during menopause may also help some women reduce their risk of osteoporosis.
Women in senior living communities may practice martial arts, Tai Chi, and yoga. They can take Zumba lessons or ballroom dancing. Then there are 60-year-old women who participate in extreme obstacle course races like Mudderella, a 7-mile race with obstacles that test strength and endurance.
Many of these athletes are over 50 and anything but weak!
Stereotype: Older women are socially needy and clingy.
Sure, older women need companionship, friendship, and conversation.
Don’t we all?
A senior faced with moving from her lifetime home, saying good-bye to friends she’s known for years, and giving up her vehicle may feel lonely. But that loneliness doesn’t have to last.
Today’s senior living communities offer endless opportunities for socialization, enrichment, and physical activity. Older women (and men, for that matter) can connect with peers who share similar interests. They’ll also have the opportunity to discover new hobbies.
Senior life is anything but lonely in the right environment. It’s easy to beat aging stereotypes and feel good about yourself in a comfortable community where you feel as if you belong.