A quiz: What do you know about growing old?

Each of us will have certain expectations about life as an older person. Our attitudes towards and knowledge of ageing can influence our desire and ability to plan ahead.

Take a quick quiz to find out – answer True or False?

  1. The number of older people in the community is increasing.
  2. Today families are less caring for older people than they were in the past.
  3. Most older people get depressed.
  4. All older people eventually become mentally confused.
  5. Most older people are able to look after themselves.
  6. As you age you get less intelligent.
  7. There are more older women than older men.
  8. On average, older people take more medicines than younger people.
  9. Older people do not benefit from regular exercise as much as younger people
  10. All older people are alike.
  11. As you get older you lose the desire to express and enjoy sexual love.
  12. Osteoarthritis is inevitable as joints wear out.
  13. Our arteries inevitably harden as age progresses.
  14. Creativity and original thought peak in the late forties and decline thereafter.

How did you do?

Here are the answers…

  1. TRUE. By the year 2021, 21% of the New Zealand population will be aged over 60.
  2. FALSE. There are a lot of pressures on the family today but family members are still the main caregivers when older people need support.
  3. FALSE. However, depression is more common than most people think. Those who are unwell, isolated or in supervised care are at greater risk.
  4. FALSE. Even among those over 80 years old, only one in five will suffer any form of serious forgetfulness or confusion.
  5. TRUE. Around 94% of older New Zealanders live in their own accommodation and look after themselves.
  6. FALSE. Intelligence does not normally decline with age.
  7. TRUE. Women tend to outlive men in our society.
  8. TRUE. On average, older people take about twice as many medicines as younger people.
  9. FALSE. Older people probably benefit more from regular physical activity than any other age group.
  10. FALSE. Every individual is different. Older people are as diverse as any other group in the community.
  11. FALSE. Older people can and do enjoy loving relationships beyond their 80’s.
  12. FALSE. Joints that receive regular, sensible use maintain their efficiency.
  13. FALSE. This phenomenon is related more to lifestyle and diet throughout life than to age itself. It is like going grey. Some arteries harden more than others.
  14. FALSE. Creative people often are at their most original in their 70’s and 80’s. Countless vigorous intellects have declined in the mistaken belief that old age brings unavoidable mental loss.

(Source: Age Concern – : Age Well, Positive Ageing).

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Paul Smith

Paul is a veteran journalist, non-fiction author and writing mentor. He has also served on boards ranging from TVNZ to UNESCO.