Skip to contentSkip to search
TELUS Health logo
TELUS Health logo
Skip to main content

Embracing active aging to overcome #FOGO (the fear of growing older)

Aging today looks very different than it did for our parents or grandparents. Yet many people harbour a sense of FOGO (fear of growing older). Worrying about declining health, losing independence and feeling isolated as we age is normal. Instead of focusing on the possible challenges of growing older, adopting a mindset of “active aging” can create more fulfilling and rewarding years ahead.

Active aging empowers people by maintaining their overall health and wellbeing. It’s an opportunity to redefine what it means to grow older — of aging gracefully, as it’s often said.

Drawing inspiration from Jeff Weiss's powerful TEDx talk, "The Power of Active Agers," read on to learn about four common aging myths and see how you can become an active ager. North America alone has over 110 million people aged 55 and older, accounting for 30 per cent of the population. By 2050, that number is projected to rise to 36 per cent. Taking an active role in how well we age will also set an example for future generations.

Myth 1: Aging is a downhill turn — there’s a fear of old age

One of the most common myths about aging is that once we hit a certain age, things go downhill from there. But this couldn't be further from the truth, and active aging can make a big difference in our attitudes about our senior years. 

In our 30s and 40s, we might feel the constant weight of the demands of career, family life and societal ideals. After midlife, however, a refreshing shift tends to happen. We may care less about what others think and more about what truly matters to us.

This newfound appreciation for life can make our later years some of our most fulfilling and meaningful. We can pursue passions, deepen relationships and make a difference. 

Takeaway: Instead of bracing for things going downhill, active aging is about embracing the opportunity to choose how we focus our time and energy.

Myth 2: You have to slow down as you age

A common misconception about aging is that we should slow down, stop trying new things and leave adventuring to the young folks. 

Getting older offers the opportunity to embrace new experiences with open arms. Take up pickleball in an inclusive community, embark on a senior cruise, or join a club or class to expand your horizons. Active aging does not mean pressuring ourselves to maintain the same physical activity or fitness level we might have had in our younger years. Instead, it's about finding new ways to engage with the world around us to adapt and find meaningful ways to thrive.

Takeaway: An active aging approach involves welcoming a sense of curiosity and joy rather than fear or limitation.

Myth 3: Productivity declines with age

Another common fear of old age centres around an assumed decline in productivity or ability to contribute to society. Older adults may feel like a burden or lose confidence in themselves even when those around them know the contrary.

The trend of early retirement is reversing as adults opt to stay in the workforce longer, sometimes part time or as consultants. Older adults can offer a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience in paid work, volunteer work and mentorship, meaningfully giving back to their communities.

So, contrary to popular myth, productivity doesn't decline with age. It may look slightly different than in younger years, but it's no less valuable or impactful. 

Takeaway: Active agers hold the power to create positive change and leave a lasting legacy, and that's something to embrace and celebrate.

Myth 4: Senior health irreversibly declines

When it comes to a fear of old age, one of the most anxiety-inducing myths is that we’ll experience an irreversible decline in health. But while aging does cause natural changes to our bodies, older adults are by no means stuck on identical paths of illness, frailty or deterioration. 

Some of the most engaging and inspiring people in the world are in their 80s and 90s, defying stereotypes and living life to the fullest.

Of course, we will still face changes in our health as we age. Taking charge of health choices and habits can help support our vitality and resilience for the long term. For those times when we need extra support, solutions like medical alert devices and virtual access to healthcare experts can help you feel more confident and independent.

Takeaway: Active aging means maintaining physical and mental health with proven strategies like proper nutrition, regular exercise and maintaining activities and connections. Speaking with loved ones or healthcare providers about your experiences can help you build more connections and support.

Overcoming fear of old age means cultivating a mindset of curiosity and wonder that can help keep anxiety and worry in check. By creating space for happiness and positive contributions in our later years, we can change the perception of aging and celebrate living our best life, regardless of age.

If you want to learn more about how a medical alert device can support your active aging journey, read about TELUS Health Medical Alert.