Hollywood loves aging stereotypes. When it comes to films and TV shows, at best, older folks are portrayed as eccentric, forgetful and out of touch. At worst, they are grumpy, close-minded and just plain mean. Not much of a choice if you ask me!

Aging Stereotypes Are Bad News for Everyone

Now, most of the people in this community, including myself, don’t consider themselves “old.” But, even if you are in your 50s or 60s, there are several reasons to care about aging stereotypes. First, whether you realize it or not, aging stereotypes may be influencing how you view and interact with the older folks in your life. Second, the myths that you consume today may become your reality tomorrow.

Each of us has a vested interest in creating a society that values older people and sees later life as a time for pursuing our passions and staying active, not giving up and accepting physical, mental and social decline.

Older Adults Are Actually Trusting and Well Behaved

Well, if you care about smashing aging stereotypes, I have good news for you. According to a study by the University at Buffalo, trust and well-being may actually increase in our later years.

If you visit that older lady or gentleman next door, you are more likely to be met with a smile than a scowl. So much for the myth of the grumpy old man!

These results are not limited to baby boomers. The researchers said that people from all generations seem to become more trusting as they get older. According to one of the researchers, Claudia Haase, “The study shows that for Millennials, Generation X, and the Baby Boomers alike, levels of trust increase as people get older… People really seem to be ‘growing to trust’ as they travel through their adult years.”

Let’s Challenge Aging Stereotypes Together

As we approach retirement, baby boomers have a vested interest in the way that the world looks at older people. So, let’s start changing opinions today. Let’s reach out to people a decade or two ahead of us and help them to live healthy lives. Let’s challenge ageism and discrimination wherever we see it.

When we do, not only will we make the world a better place for today’s seniors – we will create a world that we want to grow old in too.

Have you found that you have become more or less trusting as you have gotten a little older? Do you think that this will continue or change when you reach retirement age?

Let's Have a Conversation!