14 Ugly Truths About Aging People Don’t Talk About

While aging is a natural process we all face daily, there are a few ugly truths concerning this phenomenon we rarely talk about. Knowing what to expect is crucial to preparing and planning to reduce your future mental and physical suffering as much as possible.

While aging may be a painful experience for some, with the right tips, you can embrace this natural phase with acceptance and hope. Here are 14 things no one tells you about aging so you can prepare for what’s about to come.

Note: The content of this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Always consult with a qualified professional for advice tailored to your individual circumstances.

Aging (And Dying) Parents

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Aging isn’t just a thing that happens to you. It’s something that happens to everyone around you. For many people, the first real sign of aging is the realization that your parents won’t be around forever. When you reach a certain age, you’re going to start seeing your parents’ health decline. Most of us see it when we are close to 40.

When it first hits you, it’s absolutely terrifying. Realizing your parents and loved ones are inching closer to frailty is heartbreaking. It is easy to feel insecure about our parents aging because we’re afraid of the day they will no longer be there to guide and console us. By the time you’re 60, you will yearn for the days you could spend with your parents.

Targeted For Money

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You worked hard your entire life for your money. When you hit retirement age, you will notice something really disturbing: how many people suddenly hit you up for cash. Sometimes, it’s a relative in need, and it’s worth helping them out. Other times, it’s shady organizations asking for donations or scammers on the phone.

Elderly people are heavily preyed upon by scammers. Even when it’s not an outright scam, the amount of pressure you might feel to give away your life’s savings can be jaw-dropping. You will begin to see who’s there for you, and who’s there for your cash. At times, it can be jarring to realize who was around you in hopes of getting an inheritance.

Empty Nest Syndrome

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There’s something truly beautiful about raising functional, healthy, and happy adults. However, seeing them leave the nest is a source of melancholy for most of us as we age. That house that was so full of noise and the pitter-patter of little feet suddenly gets quiet. And you grieve that feeling of togetherness.

“Empty Nest Syndrome” can cause some older parents to get a little bit panicky. Now that the kids are gone, what do you do? How do you suddenly live for yourself when you’ve been caring for others for so long? Even trying to figure out the new dynamic between you and your spouse can be a challenge.

Sure, your kids will call you from time to time, but it’s not the same. And it hurts.

Constant Pain

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Pain thresholds increase with age, but the tolerance for them decreases. It becomes challenging to manage pain and enhance healing because our body is no longer able to put up with stressful events, forcing us to live with uncontrollable pain, both physical and mental.

Even if you are incredibly focused on staying mobile, you’ll start to feel a little joint pain from time to time. If you get arthritis, it’ll become even more pronounced. It’s simply part of aging. And yet, the fact that the pain happens never seems to get old or ease up.

Becoming Invisible

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Did you ever notice how much society treats old people like they’re invisible? It seems like the moment you hit retirement age, people assume you’re no longer relevant or worth speaking to. Even other people your age might start to ignore you.

This trend seems to be particularly noticeable among women. Men, in particular, tend to ignore women who are noticeably older than them—even in the workplace. This can be both a good and bad thing. You might be glad the street harassment stopped, but it also means that making new friends can be hard.

Losing Friends

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Part of growing older at any age is losing touch with people who you care about. During your 20s, 30s, and 40s, this is often because of something they did or a simple lack of time. However, once you reach your 50s, something alarming happens: your friends start dying at a rapid pace.

There is a certain point when you begin to worry about when you’ll next see your friends. Will they still be alive? Will you know if they pass away? These concerns aren’t as light-hearted or worrisome as concern over a gossipy friend—they’re terrifying.

Frailty

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While it’s somewhat taboo to discuss, there’s a certain point where you will start to see your strength decline. You might notice that going up your stairs is now more difficult or that picking up that box of cat litter now feels like a major accomplishment.

You can prevent a lot of your strength loss by hitting the gym and lifting weights. However, even the strongest people will eventually become frail due to bone and muscle loss. It can be terrifying to think about. If you were extremely active in your youth, watching your body fade away can be a serious identity crisis.

Incontinence

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Perhaps one of the most taboo topics related to aging is incontinence. Women are more likely than men to lose control of their bladders and bowels. It happens as a result of muscle loss in a woman’s pelvic floor, with women who gave birth vaginally seeing a higher likelihood of it happening.

After a certain point, it’s quite possible that you might need diapers or panty liners. Otherwise, you might have to deal with the mortifying embarrassment of an accident. Incontinence is different from most other aging struggles because it’s heavily stigmatized and a sanitation issue.

Disappointment In Children

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Empty Nest Syndrome can be quite rough, but do you know what’s rougher? Seeing your adult child turn into a total failure as an adult. Whether it’s a matter of addiction, a criminal record, or even their choice in spouse, seeing an adult child not live up to their potential can be quite hurtful.

There are so many questions you might be thinking of. Could you have done something different? Was this your fault? What can you do to fix this, if this even can be fixed? Sadly, you can do everything right and still have a problematic adult child. It’s not your fault.

Tech Troubles

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Technology is always changing. Sometimes, the changes are subtle (rotary vs. button phones), while other times, they’re a totally new beast. Most younger people have grown up with the tech they use today and only need to adjust their work in small ways.

When you’re in an age group where computers weren’t always a thing, it’s not always easy to adjust to new technology. Even if you were a computer whiz back in the day, much of what was the norm 20 years ago no longer works.

Constantly having to update your knowledge on things like working a phone isn’t just annoying. It can be downright depressing.

Memory Loss

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Forgetfulness and memory deterioration are well-known companions of old age. However, combating memory loss becomes challenging because losing clarity can freak most people out. Using a notebook to help track everything can help, as can sticky notes.

Sometimes, you’re going to have to address the elephant in the room: memory loss that impedes your ability to function. Of course, there’s also the fear that memory loss could be a sign of something like dementia or Alzheimer’s. That, for most elders, is the most terrifying fate of all.

Your Own Mortality

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Death is the ultimate taboo in our society, yet it’s also the fate of every single living being on this planet. Realizing that you’ve experienced almost everything in life and have nothing to look forward to, death becomes a terrifying concept. The sudden realization of mortality scares most people, but they are afraid to admit it.

Losing Independence

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As our bodies become increasingly fragile and our minds start to play tricks on us, we suddenly realize that we can no longer be independent. More often than not, it is our children or relatives who push us to seek help. Admitting that we are no longer independent can be a hard pill to swallow, as in many cases, we are either forced to leave our house or accept the help of a stranger.

Loneliness

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Aging often also means becoming more lonely. This is because of a few factors. For instance, some of your best friends or your spouse may pass away, and your kids may move to different countries. Unfortunately, loneliness can be detrimental to our health, meaning that we should all do our best to cultivate nourishing relationships, for instance, by joining support groups or starting new hobbies involving other people.

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