Statements About Old Age

True or False?

What Do We Know About Old Age?

Examine your beliefs about old age by rating the following statements.

The answers provide an impression of the range of findings from the initial cross-sectional stage of BASE (comparing participants of different ages). The link to the answers can be found below.

      Richtig     Falsch
1. The majority of old people are prescribed too many medications.
2. Most old people have at least one illness.
3. Most old people report that their health is poor.
4. Old women live longer and therefore have fewer illnesses than men.
5. The majority of very old women need assistance in bathing or showering.
6. Most biochemical reference values do not change in old age.
7. Depressive disorders become more frequent in old age.   
8. Most persons aged 70 and above have serious impairments in intellectual functioning.
9. About half of those aged 90 years and over exhibit severe mental decline (dementia).
10. Most old people receive too many psychotropic drugs.
11. Everyday life for older adults consists mainly of passive activity and rest.
12. Old people are preoccupied with death and dying.
13. Memory gets worse with age.
14. Most old people are no longer able to learn new things.
15. Most old people believe that they can no longer control what happens in their life.   
16. Only very few older persons still have life goals.
17. Older adults live mainly in the past.
18. Most old people have a confidant with whom they can talk about difficult problems.
19. Many older adults are poor.
20. Most persons aged 95 and above are institutionalized.
21. Children are the main caregivers of old persons who live in private households.
22. In old age, the rich are healthier than the poor.
23. Women who were housewives for most of their lives are worse off in old age than women who were in paid employment.

The answers on the basis of findings of the Berlin Aging Study can be found here.


Baltes, P. B. (1997). Gegen Vorurteile und Klischees: Die Berliner Altersstudie — Neue Ergebnisse über die Zielgruppe alte Menschen. Häusliche Pflege, 2, 46–51.

Mayer, K. U., Baltes, P. B., Baltes, M. M., Borchelt, M., Delius, J., Helmchen, H., Linden, M., Smith, J., Staudinger, U. M., Steinhagen-Thiessen, E., & Wagner, M. (2001). What do we know about old age and aging? Conclusions from the Berlin Aging Study. In P. B. Baltes & K. U. Mayer (Eds.), The Berlin Aging Study: Aging from 70 to 100 (pp. 475–519). Cambridge University Press.

Palmore, E. B. (1988). The facts on aging quiz: A handbook of uses and results. Springer.

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