Myths or Facts
Dr. Wiggins responds to typical myths about aging:
- People, especially men, die shortly after retirement.
- As people are living longer, they're living with more disability and limitation.
- More than 20% of the population over age 65 live in nursing homes.
- Pads and liners are an acceptable solution for incontinence.
- Most old people are not interested in sex nor are capable of sexual relations.
- At age 65, a man has 16 years life expectancy and a woman has 19 years.
- An optimistic finding during the last 10-15 years is a decrease in disability among the older population. We're not only living longer, but we're living with fewer disease conditions and disabilities and with a better quality of life.
- Most elderly people live in the community. Only 5% of the population over age 65 live in nursing homes. Among people over 85, only 20% are in nursing homes.
- Medications and illness often play a role in short-term incontinence. Incontinence caused by a urinary tract infection, for example, is often reversible. For more complicated cases, there are medical and exercises that may offer substantial improvements.
- Sexual urges change and evolve as people get older, but many old people have active sex lives. The interest in Viagra as a benchmark for how integral sexuality is in older people's lives.