A wave of fear has engulfed the middle years of life.
Almost a tsunami! Sensible people worrying, fretting, feeling anxious about ageing, yet actually heading for the best stage of their lives!
How did that happen?
Lets go back to another era. Lets explore another fear problem.
Do you remember Back Pain?
Discs popping out, slipping everywhere. Everyone due for a long term back problem.
Dire warnings. Posters. Leaflets. Dont bend! Wear a steel corset. Have a back roll with you in planes, cars, restaurants…..Be afraid. Be Very afraid. Of your back!
People froze! Often scared to move for years.
Funny. Nowadays that has all gone. Today it is move and exercise. Certainly don’t panic!
But where did that panic come from?
Wonder if those numbers and the $$$ sign had anything to do with it?
And somebody made a lot of money didn’t they? Because we all had to have a new hard orthopaedic mattress didn’t we?
Are you making the connection?
Here it is:
1. An incorrect view of back pain (taken from a historic medical model.)
2. Picked up and exaggerated by the media as as a threat to all: to industry, the NHS, the economy, to life….
3. Created a potential new market for pills, corsets, special chairs, mattresses, and various ‘therapies”. Who, of course, also spread the doom and gloom scenario.
Yes! We have reached the same early point with Ageing.
That fear of an ageing population, a silver Tsunami overwhelming the NHS, the economy……
And of course, the media myths:
Everyone over 65 will have Alzheimer’s....No! 7% and falling.
Everyone over 65 will become dependent, frail, need care….No again. Well over 80% stay independent. We are tough, we have learned to cope and get on with enjoying life whatever.
The economy? Another NO! Older people contribute Billions and Billions net. More than they cost! Many continue to work well past 65, pay taxes, start businesses, or provide millions of hours of unpaid work as childminders, volunteers and carers without which the economy would collapse. And they are a new, but experienced, workforce that we didn’t have before, and need.
But the best is yet to come! All research is showing that the curve of human happiness peaks around 73. and life satisfaction is highest at 90+!
So where is this fear coming from? Who is benefitting by promoting it?
Yes! Once again those who make a profit from it. AntiAgeing products and lifestyle merchants. Their constant message:
And we have let them do it!
They have indoctrinated whole generations with a false worrying stereotype of later years to be avoided at all costs …..££££
Yet the truth is the opposite. You will find out when you reach 70+ !
You made it! You know who you are. Happy in your own skin. Mature. And to most of us it was a great surprise to realise what a lovely stage of life it is.
Wouldn’t go back to being young!
So what happened about Back Pain?
Actual result was that Physiotherapists and Medics woke up, realised what a problem had been created and moved on to a different approach. They took a positive non threatening view and put out the real facts. Ie that most back pain is a temporary problem, it is not normally dangerous and with a bit of info. people can live with it fine. It worked.
As a Physio my field was working with those chronic back pain people frozen by fear for years. We discovered that all it took to release them was to take away the fear, forget it, start them enjoying normal activity and repeatedly encourage a positive view. Magic!
Here is what we did:
“Illness Behaviour to Wellness Behaviour: The ‘School for Bravery’ Approach”
If you would like to read about it click on this: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031940610629227
And there you have it.
That is where the AgeProud philosophy came from – clinical research with back pain!
Fear of ageing is Fake. Falsely generated. Forget it.
We can change that nonsensical negative stereotype. We can get the happy reality of later life out there. We can challenge the doom merchants.
And most of all, be positively proud of all our life stages. And especially when we make it to the later one.