active older man

Healthy Aging mini quiz:
Test your aging IQ

Think you know a lot about aging? Test your smarts with this quiz from the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

1. Which of the following age groups is one of the fastest-growing segments of the American population?

A. Babies and children under age 5 B. Children age 15-19 C. People over age 85

Today, there are over 6 million Americans age 85 and older. That number may more than triple by the year 2050, when the youngest baby boomers turn 86.

2. Sylvia, 65, has osteoporosis. Her doctor wants her (and her husband) to start doing weight-bearing exercise to increase bone density. Is Sylvia too old to exercise?

Yes No

Physical activity at any age is beneficial. It can strengthen the heart, lungs and muscles, and might help slow bone loss.

3. What about Sylvia's husband? Should he worry about his bones?

Yes No

Men can get osteoporosis: one in five Americans who have this disease or are at risk for developing it are men.

4. Joan, 65, has smoked cigarettes since she was 20. Her children and grandchildren want her to quit. Several of Joan's family members died of cancer in their old age. Does it still make sense for her to quit?

Yes No

Stopping smoking is smart at any age. Soon after quitting, blood flow improves in the arms and legs; in a few months, breathing usually becomes easier. People who quit feel better, possibly live longer, save money and enjoy their food more.

5. Getting tested for cancer is as important when you're older as it is when you're younger.

True False

Many older people can beat cancer, especially if it's found early enough.

6. Harry, 80, seems to be having vision changes. The doctor says he has a cataract in one eye and needs surgery. Is cataract surgery likely to help him see better?

Yes No

More than half of people over age 80 have a cataract or had one removed in the past. More than 90 percent of people can see better after this surgery.

7. Sam, 70, has a younger brother who was just diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Sam is worried because he seems to be forgetting things, and sometimes feels confused. Could he have Alzheimer's, too?

Yes No

While having a family member with Alzheimer's may make it more likely that Sam will develop the disease, as well, it is by no means a certainty.

8. As a general rule, the senses of sight and sound tend to become impaired in late adulthood but our senses of taste and smell become sharper.

True False

While vision and hearing may be the senses that are most affected, all five of the senses tend to decline in older age:

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Join the conversations:
Showing comment(s)
August 18, 2013
We live on a farm and my dad can't tell when the electrical fence is turned on because he doesn't feel anything. I was "shocked" (sorry for the bad pun) to read that even our sense of touch can lessen as we age. I wonder if that could explain what's going on with my dad?
Lisa at San Diego health
August 18, 2013
Hi Jim, Perhaps. If you read the National Institutes of Health article we link to in question 8, however, some people swing the other way. Because skin gets thinner as we age, some people become even more sensitive to light touch. In fact, I think this may be the case with my mother; she's started cutting the tag from the inside of the neckline on her blouses because they bother her.
July 6, 2013
What cancers are you suggesting we be tested for, in your answer for question #5?
Lisa at San Diego health
July 7, 2013
We can not provide medical advice. However, The Centers for Disease Control recommends "screening" tests (in the absence of any symptoms) for breast, cervical and colon cancers. However, because there are downsides to many types of test (expense, anxiety associated with false positives, false negatives, health risks, little benefit even if cancer were detected, etc.), screening is not currently advised for many other cancers unless someone is at high-risk or has symptoms. Articles that discuss cancer screening in much more detail are:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Cancer Screening Tests
National Cancer Center: What is Cancer Screening?
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force: Recommendations for Adults
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