Ageing conversation questions

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One of the biggest challenges facing Europe and the rest of the world in the future is the question of ageing populations. According to the 2008 Demography Report published by the European Commission's Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Directorate, for every person currently aged 65 or over, there are four people of working age (15-64). By 2050, however, there will be only two people of working age for every person aged 65 or over.[1]

Increased health care, among other factors, has led to people in developed countries living considerably longer, and more importantly, more healthily than in the past.

  • How old is "old"?
  • Does your culture respect the elderly or do they ignore them and house them somewhere?
  • Some people say that Western culture values young people more than old people. Do you believe this to be true? Why/Why not?
  • Some people say, "You are only as old as you feel." Do you agree with that statement? Why/why not?
  • Some people say, "Youth is wasted on the young." What do you think this means? Do you agree with it?
  • Many elderly people have problems moving around. What does your country provide to help elderly people get around the streets and shops? Is there any way these things could be improved?
  • When you compare different generations in your family or circle of friends, do you notice that people live longer and in better health now? If so, in what ways is it noticeable?
  • Although women live longer than men, it is sometimes said that men "age" better than women. What do you think?
  • What do you think about elderly women who get cosmetic surgery to make themselves look younger?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting older?
  • What types of advice do you think the elderly should be expected to give the young?
  • If you see an elderly person on the bus or train do you offer them your seat? Why or why not?
  • The word "ageism" has been invented to describe the discrimination against older people. In what ways do you think people discriminate against older people?
  • What do you think you can do for yourself to help you age better with improved mobility and strength? When do you think you should start doing this?
  • Would you go to a doctor that specializes in helping you age better or more slowly?
  • Ageing better will require that lifestyle changes (for example, increased exercise, improved diet, decreased TV watching) be made earlier in your life to make a significant impact. How much would you be willing to change now to improve your life when you are much older?

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