Myths, Myopia and Maytags

By Howard Eyrich. A necessary component in understanding aging is the demythologization of our cultural folklore about “old people.” Demythologization is a fancy way of saying that is important to investigate current assumptions about aging in our society and compare them with the facts. Furthermore, it means that our individual and collective behavior must be adjusted to the facts.

Myth One: Elderly people are non-productive.

A common belief is that the elderly neither desire to or are they capable of being productive contributors to society. This myth no doubt has several roots. At least two of these roots society has planted and then harvested the results and created this myth.

Society arbitrarily established an age for retirement when the population was bulging with young people putting upward pressure on the job market. The extension of longevity for the masses was not yet perceived as problems. Retirees began to be viewed as people past this “magic age” of productiveness. Many became non-pro

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