Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Ageing: Why Are People Scared of It?

by Shireen Avasthi
old woman, fear of ageing
Why do so many of us have a fear of ageing?

Having a phobia of ageing is nothing to be embarrassed of - lots of people are in the same situation. The question is: why do so many of us have a fear of ageing? 

What do you value most about youth? Is it beauty, intelligence, freedom, just having a good time and a laugh, or is it something else? Whatever it may be, chances are that there are multiple stereotypes pinned to it. More likely than not, one of these stereotypes is that you will be robbed of this quality as you grow older.

Society has created the common opinion that a person's beauty, intelligence and sense of humour diminish as they age. This is largely to blame for fear of ageing, which is very common. 

Everyone wants to hold on to their youth. Maybe this is because in Western culture, older citizens are are treated as though they are a burden: they're thrust into a nursing home; visiting and caring for them is seen as a chore; and only a tiny fraction of the respect they are owed is given to them.     

This is why a lot of people try to hide from their inevitably advancing age: they see how elderly people around them are being treated, and they worry that they might be treated in the same manner when they reach their twilight years.

Other people are concerned about losing their looks as the years pass by. Ageing is a natural process, and the more you try to stop it, the faster it'll happen. So many people buy anti-ageing products and dress inappropriately young in a desperate attempt to hold on to their youth. They're under the illusion that their attempts are working, at least a bit, but the simple fact is that it's impossible. It's impossible to turn back the clock, and surely time would be better spent planning for the future rather that trying to relive the past.

Another thing that many people worry about is losing their intelligence as they age. Granted, problems like dementia can rob you of your memory (and this can affect you intelligence), but wouldn't you be better off spending less energy worrying about the future and more energy making use of the time you have now to do the things you want to do while you still can? You can't run or hide from things like this, so why waste precious time trying?

Everyone likes to have fun (and by this I mean everyone) including the elderly. Being afraid of getting old because you won't be able to have fun is ridiculous. Have you ever heard the phrase "Take care of your body and it will take care of you"? As far as having fun as an elderly person is concerned, this is exactly right:  if you're the kind of person who likes going on roller coasters, bungee jumping, skydiving, quad biking and other extreme sports, you should live by this quote. If you do, your body will be fit enough for you to do these things in your sixties, seventies and maybe even your eighties!

skateboarding, old man, fear of ageing
If you take care of your health, you can stay active
even as an elderly person
When you are able to stand on your own two feet financially, are able to take care of yourself and aren't dependant on anyone, you really have freedom. There are some unlucky people who lose their freedom as they get old. They might get a disease like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which, by the end of it, leaves the bearer of the disease completely dependant on the people around them. However, even a disease as tragic as this one has its plus points. The person bearing ALS will have months, maybe even a year or two, to put their affairs in order and say their goodbyes.They would be so grateful for the time they have left, which makes people who are worried about their wrinkles seem rather vain and self-centred, don't you think?

There is really no need for anyone to fear ageing; it's an inevitable and natural part of life. If you take care of you body and just sit back and enjoy the ride, it can be a very enjoyable part of life - maybe even the most enjoyable. Despite all this, people are scared of ageing because of the warped way that society displays it. It's unlikely that society's opinion will ever change, but you can change your views of ageing to make the experience fun and satisfying.

What do you think? Is ageing something to embrace or something to run screaming from? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


  1. Wow! This article is really good. Not only does it explain why so many people are afraid of getting old, it also helps to overcome this fear. Good job, keep it up! :)

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the article =)

  2. Its good to see all of you young writers carrying on with your good work. Well done.

    1. Thanks! I'm really happy that you found my article interesting!

  3. I feel that the cause of ageing is time and time itself is an invisible enemy. What scares me the most is is that I know everyday will mean a step towards the inevitable outcome of human life and there is nothing we can do to fight against nature. Sometimes I wonder whether the fear of ageing could be representative of the fear of death and that in a very gradual way our footprints on this world will be wiped away.


Hi there!

We'd love it if you'd share your thoughts and ideas. Don't forget to check back after commenting because we try to reply to all of your comments.

Just remember to be nice, please!