8 Things Women Fear About Ageing That Are Not True

LIFESTYLE  |  July 18, 2016
  • Myth 1: You Lose Your Sex Drive
    1 / 8 Myth 1: You Lose Your Sex Drive

    In an Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this year, the 77-year-old Jane Fonda fessed up to having quite a bit of fun in her later years, and not just in the bedroom. “I was 50 years old… We get on the plane and he asks, ‘Are you a member of the mile-high club?’… And then I joined!”

    Women like Jane are not uncommon. “Recent studies and surveys show that the brain of those well over 60 years old want and enjoy sex,” says Judith Horstman in her book The Scientific American Healthy Aging Brain. And though the media and public continue to label sexually active older women with derogatory terms such as ‘cougars’, such sexual desire is in fact normal, and physically and psychologically healthy.

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  • Myth 2: Women Become Less Attractive And Depressed
    2 / 8 Myth 2: Women Become Less Attractive And Depressed

    From Julianne Moore to Sharon Stone and Michelle Pfeiffer, the list of attractive 50-year-old women is ever growing. With a healthy lifestyle, positive outlook and aesthetic advancements, women can no longer be pigeonholed according to their age. However, even more inspiring than the slew of ageless celebrities is the fact that more leading women are ageing gracefully and embracing their wrinkles.

    Kylie Minogue recently revealed that she would no longer consider Botox. “I have lines, you can see them on my face,” she proudly declared. A study conducted on behalf of the National Women’s Health Resource Center in the United States also suggests that women aren’t terrified of ageing. Instead, most viewed it as “an adventure and opportunity”.

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  • Myth 3: Your Childbearing Years Are Over
    3 / 8 Myth 3: Your Childbearing Years Are Over

    Last August, local actress Carole Lin delivered her baby girl at the age of 42 despite her gynaecologist’s warning that she may have a harder time conceiving than younger women. She is no exception – fellow local actresses Fann Wong, Zoe Tay and Huang Biren have also given birth well into their 40s. With modern medical science and reproductive technology, it is possible to have a healthy baby after 40. That said, your fertility rate will decrease with age, and risks of complications and miscarriage will increase. If you are considering mature pregnancy, it is best to consult a trusted gynaecologist and go for necessary tests before trying for a baby.

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  • Myth 4: You Will Be Less Sociable And Lonelier
    4 / 8 Myth 4: You Will Be Less Sociable And Lonelier

    The stereotype of the eccentric old lady with a dozen cats is a common and misleading one. In fact, according to Dr Margaret Gatz from the University of Southern California, “As we get older, our social intelligence keeps expanding. We get better at sizing up people, at understanding how relationships work – and at not getting into an argument unless we mean to.” Age doesn’t affect your social skills or loneliness – it depends on how much effort you put into developing and maintaining meaningful relationships.

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  • Myth 5: You Have No Career Options
    5 / 8 Myth 5: You Have No Career Options

    While undergoing mid-life career changes is understandably more challenging, it is not a closed option. If you wish to make a career switch, do a personal achievement audit, evaluate your transferrable skills, and be willing to learn or take a pay cut, if necessary. Entrepreneurship is a more viable option today as well, with a new equity crowd-funding platform set up this year, linking entrepreneurs to accredited investors. The government is also providing incentives for employers to hire older workers, with grants and subsidies for their continual training. According to Senior Minister of State for Manpower Amy Khor, the employment rate of older Singaporeans aged 55 to 64 hit a new high of 66 per cent in 2014.

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  • Myth 6: Your Brain And Creativity Decline
    6 / 8 Myth 6: Your Brain And Creativity Decline

    There is no age limit to talent, creativity and innovation. Famous cubist artist Pablo Picasso created masterpieces well into his 70s, and mother of modern dance Martha Graham danced in her 60s and continued to choreograph in her 90s. In fact, according to the American Pyschological Association, verbal and maths abilities, as well as spatial and abstract reasoning improve in middle age. It appears that the brain compensates for cognitive decline by using both hemispheres in problem solving, as compared to younger brains that usually only use one hemisphere.

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  • Myth 7: You Will Suffer Dementia And Memory Loss
    7 / 8 Myth 7: You Will Suffer Dementia And Memory Loss

    Dementia is a health condition, not a normal part of ageing or a ticking time bomb. When doctors examined the brain of a 115-year-old Dutch woman, they found her brain in tip-top shape with no signs of Alzheimer’s or loss in brain function. That said, there is indeed a greater risk of dementia as age increases. Fortunately, you can reduce this risk with regular intellectual stimulation – learning or trying new things builds new brain connections. Studies have also found that high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity may also contribute to dementia, so getting regular physical exercise can slash the risk significantly.

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  • Myth 8: You Can No Longer Learn New Things And Evolve
    8 / 8 Myth 8: You Can No Longer Learn New Things And Evolve

    “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is probably one of the most limiting beliefs. “Early experiences rarely make or break us. Instead, there are opportunities throughout the lifespan – within limits – to undo the damage done by early traumas, to teach new skills, and to redirect lives along more fruitful paths,” shared Carol K. Sigelman and Elizabeth A. Rider in their book Life-Span Human Development. And it’s also never too late to change bad habits, such as quitting smoking or committing to a healthy exercise regime – such changes can have a positive impact on your physical, mental and emotional health at any age.

    Photo: Казанский Кирилл / 123rf.com

    A version of this article first appeared on The Singapore Women’s Weekly website.

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