Ageing myths

As you get older, you may come across negative attitudes about ageing. It doesn’t mean that you have to accept stereotypes about seniors.

A lack of knowledge about ageing sustains these myths and can lead to age discrimination.

The reality is the vast majority of seniors lead healthy and active lives, and make significant contributions to their family and the community.

Common myths

Myth: Older people are an economic burden on society.

Reality: Older people make a significant contribution to the economy:

  • Travellers aged 65 years and over took an estimated 8 million overnight trips accounting for 11% of all domestic overnight trips (2005).
  • They donate generously to charity. In 2006, 2 million people aged over 65 (78% of all people) made personal donations to organisations.
  • One in five (22%) of carers in Queensland are 65 years and over (2015).
  • More than a quarter (28%) of Queenslanders aged 65 to 75 years volunteered, while more than one-fifth (21%) aged 75 years and over volunteered (2015).

Myth: All old people are unwell.

Reality: The majority of older people are healthy and active, particularly those under 80 years old. In 2011 only 6% of people aged 65 and older lived in nursing homes (67%) and retired or aged care facilities (25%).

Myth: Older people are unable to learn or change.

Reality: There are increasing numbers of older people pursuing university studies while others attend informal classes through the University of the Third Age. Many seniors learn new things to allow them to take part in activities and leisure interests.

Myth: Memory loss and senility comes with age.

Reality: Studies show you can maintain intellect and creativity into old age. While your risk of dementia does increase, it affects only about 5% of older people.

Myth: Older people are more likely to be victims of criminal assault and robbery.

Reality: People aged 65 and over are less likely to be victims of crime than other adults.

Related information:

  • Queensland: an age-friendly community outlines our vision for a community where older people are supported to lead healthy and productive lives either in work, volunteering or in retirement.