New e-Learning Course on Ageism

WiseLearn Plattform/ July 5, 2024

Ageism (i.e., stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination based on an individual’s age) has serious outcomes, for example on mental health. One strategy to reduce ageism are educational interventions, such as e-learning courses. Educational activities help to enhance empathy, to reduce misconceptions and to reduce prejudice and discrimination. Read more and test your own knowledge about age and aging.

Ageism in form of stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination based on age is widespread in societies, institutions, laws and policies across the world– thus also in Switzerland.

Did you know, for example, that…

  • … you are no longer allowed to take out a loan in Switzerland from the age of seventy, regardless of your income (credxperts, 2022)?
  • … all drivers in Switzerland receive their first invitation to a periodic medical check-up, which they have to pay for themselves, five days after their seventy-fifth birthday, regardless of their current health status (Kanton Aargau, 2024)?

Both examples describe a situation in which older adults are not granted something or something is imposed on them because of their age. The justification relates solely to chronological age and not to other characteristics of an individual. One could therefore speak of age discrimination here, which is the most obvious appearance of ageism.

In contrast to “objective” age discrimination which is easy recognizable age stereotypes and prejudices are often much more subtle and unconscious, but nonetheless have far-reaching consequences for people’s health, well-being and human rights. Among older people, ageism is associated with poorer physical and mental health, increased social isolation and loneliness, greater financial insecurity and decreased quality of life and premature death (WHO, 2021).

For example, the common stereotype that old age is associated with sadness and feelings of loneliness, leads to depression in old age often being overlooked and not appropriately diagnosed, even though studies show that older age alone does not cause depression. Some of the factors associated with depression, for example, the fear of falling could be changed and tackled (Van’T Veer-Tazelaar et al., 2008). In this case, the stereotype may discourage people from visiting the doctor, leads to underdiagnosis, or even misdiagnosis.

Educational interventions to enhance empathy, to dispel misconceptions about different age groups, and to reduce prejudice by providing accurate information are one strategy proposed by the WHO to reduce ageism.

This is where we want to start. If people are sensitized, if ageism is better known and more present in our society and if we are aware of its negative consequences, then more people might be able to recognize it, to raise their voices and consciously defend themselves and others in their everyday life.

To make knowledge about ageism easily accessible for everyone and at any time, we are currently working on a free e-learning course on ageism. As soon as it is ready, you will find a link here on our homepage.

If you like, you can start today with a short quiz (in German). Palmore (1977) developed his “Facts on Aging” quiz with the aim of clarifying misconceptions and promoting discussion on age and ageing. We have translated five of the questions and adapted them to the Swiss context. Get started right away and test what you already know. The solutions are displayed in between the five questions. Maybe you will gain some new knowledge about age(ing) in Switzerland.


credxperts. (2022). Altersgrenze für Kredite: In welchem Alter bekommt man noch Kredite? credXperts.
Kanton Aargau. (2024, Mai 15). Periodische Kontrolluntersuchung. Periodische Kontrolluntersuchung.
Palmore, E. (1977). Facts on Aging: A Short Quiz. The Gerontologist, 17(4), 315–320.
Van’T Veer-Tazelaar, P. J. (Nelleke), Van Marwijk, H. W. J., Jansen, A. P. D. (Daniëlle), Rijmen, F., Kostense, P. J., Van Oppen, P., Van Hout, H. P. J., Stalman, W. A. B., & Beekman, A. T. F. (2008). Depression in old age (75+), the PIKO study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 106(3), 295–299.
WHO. (2021). Global Report on Ageism.

The images used are from the age-positive image library and