As reported in the Wall Street Journal, men oftentimes have a harder time accepting the aging process because of their views of masculinity. The harsh realities of aging such as losing your balance or becoming frail do not fit well with the need to be strong or to maintain your own home. As stated by Michael Addis, a professor of psychology at Clark University: “A man’s body is expected to be a performative machine. It’s not supposed to break down. And if you’re ashamed of what’s happening because it‘s against your notion of what it means to be a man, that adds to the stress of aging.”
While women also face challenges with aging, experts believe that gender norms for women can actually provide a source of strength as they age such as accepting vulnerability.
Medical providers and psychologists have been working to improve aging for senior men. One way is to encourage seniors to pay more attention to their health care and encourage them to stay fit while accepting realities: “When I have knee-jerk reactions, like ‘I’m so lame, I can’t even lift a pencil anymore,’ I stop myself and say, ‘Wait a minute, it’s not that I’m not a man. It’s hard not to do the things you used to do, but geez, ease up” said Dr. Addis. Encouraging men to use health care as a tool to remain physically fit can allow for healthy activity throughout the aging process.
Experts also agree that retirement can be a difficult pill for men to swallow. Leaving the role as bread-winner can be difficult for seniors, especially men. Doctors recommend volunteer work or possibly working part-time can help men remain fulfilled even in retirement. This is also good for the brain.
While aging is difficult for both genders, it may be especially difficult for men to give up their traditional role as protector and bread-winner. For more helpful advice, read the full article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-men-have-such-a-hard-time-with-aging-1488164880