Growing up in a family, you definitely must have heard some things about old age or growing old. In most climes, old age is associated with weakness, fragility, loss of memory, low intellectual skills, poor retention, wrinkling, or folding of skin, thinning of air, etc.
These ageist stereotypes subconsciously makes you feel like old age is not something to be desired, or rather a stage or phase of dormancy. And because for most people, this period marks the period of their life when they battle various forms of diseases, old age is much more resented (that’s not to say people don’t want to grow old).
Now, one thing we really need to ask is: Are these famous perceptions really true? If they really are, then to what extent?
If one thing needs to be stressed in this article, it is the fact that old age does not mean total blankness. Psychologists are of the opinion that old people can undergo activities people go through in their early adulthood (from about 20 to 40, 45). Activities such conversing, walking, strolling, napping, eating, etc.
Although memory loss is common among old people, it in no way suggests that old people are unintelligent or a set of ‘black out’ persons. Psychologists say intellectual decline is not an inevitable part of the aging process. In fact, they go ahead to differentiate between two types of intelligence: fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.
While fluid intelligence involves information-processing skills such as memory, calculations, and analogy solving, crystallized intelligence is based on accumulation of information, skills, and strategies learned through experience.
During old age, it is the fluid intelligence that reduces, the crystallized intelligence remains intact. Therefore, old people might find it difficult to remember some specific human experiences, or do mental sum, or solve some quantitative or comparison mental work. However, their ability to learn is still intact. So, people who are old are just as fit to learn, although it might take them more time to.
Improving Intelligence during old age
An old person, who doesn’t just want to sleep and wake, can get involved in a number of activities that can help stimulate their brains (or intelligence.)
Intelligence stimulation is one thing that can help the aged to keep fit in terms of intelligence. Reading, playing games, etc. can help to improve cognitive reasoning. For example, playing chess can help old people improve their intelligence and cognitive functioning. In fact, some study has shown that video games that involve tactics and quick decision-making might actually be helpful to the aged person, not in cognitive capabilities alone, but also in improving some other skills that can help them cope with old age.
Because the period of old age is the most reflective period of our life where career goals, business achievements, marriage success, childhood and teenage experiences, deep failures, etc. are reviewed, other things have to come in between in order to ‘kill’ the boredom that is characteristics of that period.
Due to the declining weakness of bodily organ, aged people tend to think more about death. And according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (2009), while waiting for death, old people tend to experience two or more of these feelings: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Because of these and more, including reduction in physical activities, a lot need to be done in order to make old age a memorable phase of existence.
So, if you are in your middle adulthood (between 40, 45 to about 65), and fast approaching late adulthood (65-70 upwards), some of the tips mentioned here can be used to tackle this so much feared phase of existence.
So, are you still afraid of old age?