Crabby Old Lady - A Poem
The Value of a Mixed Age Workplace

Professor Palmore’s Amazing Facts on Aging Quiz

category_bug_ageism.gif To combat ageism at large and age discrimination in the workplace, some myths about older people must be dispelled. 74-year-old Erdman Palmore, professor emeritus at Duke University, has spent a lifetime studying aging and fighting ageism, and he is still at it.

"What makes me mad is how aging, in our language and culture, is equated with deterioration and impairment," he said. "I don't know how we're going to root that out, except by making people more aware of it."
The Detroit News, 5 September 2004

In 1976, Professor Palmore developed a quiz to help people realize some of their prejudices about older people. Twenty-eight years later we still need this quiz. So embedded in our culture are the beliefs it tests, even older folks get some wrong.

In preparation for an ongoing discussion of age discrimination here, let’s all take Professor Palmore’s quiz. Keep in mind that people age at widely varying rates, and the quiz applies to older people in general. The statements are taken from Palmore's book, The Facts on Aging Quiz.

Here goes. Answer True or False for each statement.

  1. The majority of old people – age 65-plus – are senile.
  2. The five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell) all tend to weaken in old age.
  3. The majority of old people have no interest in, nor capacity for, sexual relations.
  4. Lung vital capacity tends to decline with old age.
  5. The Majority of old people feel miserable most of the time.
  6. Physical strength tends to decline with age.
  7. At least one-tenth of the aged are living in long-stay institutions such as nursing homes, mental hospital and homes for the aged.
  8. Aged drivers have fewer accidents per driver than those under age 65.
  9. Older workers usually cannot work as effectively as younger workers.
  10. More than three-fourths of the aged are healthy enough to do their normal activities without help.
  11. The majority of old people are unable to adapt to change.
  12. Older people usually take longer to learn something new.
  13. Depression is more frequent among the elderly than among younger people.
  14. Older people tend to react slower than younger people.
  15. In general, old people tend to be pretty much alike.
  16. The majority of old people say they are seldom bored.
  17. The majority of older people are socially isolated.
  18. Older workers have fewer accidents than younger workers.
  19. More than 20 percent of the population is now 65 and older.
  20. The majority of medical practitioners tend to give low priority to the aged.
  21. The majority of old people have incomes below the poverty line, as defined by the U.S. federal government.
  22. The majority of old people are working or would like to have some kind of work to do, including housework and volunteer work.
  23. Old people tend to become more religious as they age.
  24. The majority of old people say they are seldom irritated or angry.
  25. The health and economic status of old people will be about the same or worse in the year 2010, compared with younger people.

Answers: All odd-numbered statements are False. All even-numbered statements are True.

How well did you do? It is worth reading these explanations for each statement.

We can all help battle ageism. When someone repeats a myth in your presence, set them straight. When you read a misconception in a newspaper or magazine, or hear one on television or radio, let them know you object. It's easy to do with email - all media have an online presence. And while you're at it, challenge them to take this quiz. Send them this permalink.


Hi Ronni

Very true. People who can be soooooo PC about ethnic minorities/women/disabled people can be incredibly guilty of ageism, making wild generalisations and assumptions.

My husband's grandfather, a delightful 86-year-old retired psychiatrist, took to computers at the age of 82 so that he could play chess with opponents around the globe. On one of the first occasions that I met him, he showed me the computer together with a demonstration of his e-mail programme and chess websites. He then winked at my husband, conspiratorially took me aside and asked me "Now what I want to know is where do you find all this pornography on the Internet?" A whole raft of ageism myths exploded in one visit!!

Ageism - the one prejudice you do outgrow.

Don't you think the cost of health insurance is a big part of this? We are self employed which means I can work as long as I can ( and will have to) but our health insurance is and will be a huge burden. And if we were to hire someone, for a small business, getting health insurance for another older person ( we are in our fifties) would be a huge cost. The years between 55 and Medicare are tough, insurance wise.
So maybe ageism would be helped by a national health care plan. I guess we could ask the Canadians!

I really don't feel that ageism is something that we fight so much any more as a society. I think the bar has been raised by how society views ageism and values the contribution that our older generations bring forth. There is a lot to be learned and valued by our older generations. I for one value their opinions!

My grandfather just turned 86, and he doesn't seem like he's slowing down. He doesn't have trouble getting around. He still cooks like he used to, and a few days, I saw him outside pulling weeds in his garden. He also tries to walk around the track a few times a week. He seems very strong and healthy for someone of his age. My grandmother is 61, and is more active than I am. She's always running around, doing errands and helping people out. It isn't true that all old people are housebound and unable to enjoy life.

Is it time consuming to remove wrinkles , well this is difficult to answer because we all differ in the way we see things or approach matters as such. Some women who treat their wrinkles either enjoy the whole scenario or loathe every minute of trying to smooth out the fine lines and wrinkles that has them setting out on this beauty mission. Deep facial lines and creases are the cause for why more and more people are turning to cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgeons are smoothing out wrinkles every day of the week. ...




Hi, I am a senior attending Truman State university. I am working on doing a research project on generational differences and aging misconceptions. I was wanting to use this quiz for my project. However, I was wondering how I get approval?

HI I a am an undergraduate student who is currently working on The attitude of nurses towards older patients. May i please have a copy of the original Pal
more Facts On Aging Quiz.


My Dad at 75 had more computer operation knowledge than I did. He was very tech savvy . Also he used to read a lot he was a walking encyclopedia . I feel people at that age handle life better than younger than them. I love my Dad for what he was . And how he aged gracefully. I feel they need to have more opportunities outside to be able to interact with their own age . Or they can tech the younger generation instead of them learning from the internet .

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)