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L.J. Rohan

L.J. Rohan

Gerontologist

Myth: Only Old People Are Aging

“Only old people are aging.” I want you to think about this belief for a moment. The acceptance of this myth is so pervasive, it took me a few minutes of quiet thinking to see the ageism inherent in it.

Do you think of a five year old as aging? In your twenties or thirties did you think you were “aging;” actually using that word to reflect the addition of more candles on your cake each year? I would bet not in both cases.

Research shows even into our forties we don’t think of ourselves as aging in the same way we look at older adults in their fifties and older, who are moving across the timeline of their lives. So, what happens to alter our perception of older adults? Why do younger generations begin referring to us as aging, another way of saying getting old, and often meaning it in a disrespectful, derogatory way?

What causes this shift in thinking? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Published Mar 18, 2021