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University of Illinois Extension

2. All Old Folks Are Not the Same

Do you know older people who use a cane, wheelchair, glasses, or a hearing aid? Do you know older people who play tennis or golf, swim, jog, or do other activities? Do you know older people who still work every day or volunteer? Do you know an older person who is very sick in a nursing home?

You can probably answer yes to any or all of these questions. These questions help you to think about some of the older people you know. They also show you that all old people are not alike. Older people are just as different from each other and have as many different interests and abilities as younger people do.

"All old people are the same" is a stereotype. A stereotype is a statement or belief about a group of people that is thought to be true for the entire group. Another example of a stereotype is the statement: "All old people are cranky." Just like younger people, some older people are happy, some are cranky, some are healthy, some are sick, some are rich, some are poor, some are short, some are tall. We all have similarities as well as differences; that's what makes us individuals.

What's Next?

Read the next activity What Do You Think? or return to the All Old Folks Are Not The Same Table of Contents.