Ten years' experience conducting the aging game workshop: Was it worth it?

James T. Pacala, Chad Boult, Ken Hepburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


In the Aging Game, medical students experience simulated physical, sensory, and cognitive deficits that are associated with disability from chronic diseases. Since 1994, the University of Minnesota has presented an innovative version of the Aging Game as part of the curriculum in a required clinical clerkship. The experiences conducting the Aging Game over the past decade were reviewed, focusing on the resources necessary to produce it and on its worth as an educational tool. Because many of the reusable props were obtained free as donations, start-up material costs were calculated at $530. Personnel necessary for each half-day presentation of the Aging Game included two faculty and a minimum of five nonfaculty serving as facilitators; a staff coordinator was also essential. Quantitative student evaluations (N=673) exhibited mean ratings of 1.41, 1.35, and 1.40 (1=excellent) for overall value, teaching effectiveness, and quality of a postsimulation discussion. Written student comments regarding the strengths of the Aging Game centered on three major themes: mode of learning, especially using role playing and simulating deficits (total of 192 comments); attitudinal change, specifically raising awareness and stimulating reflection on the experiences of disabled older adults (121 comments); and educational value, particularly the Aging Game's capacity for creating a memorable impression (56 comments). Despite consuming significant personnel resources, the Minnesota version of the Aging Game is an effective tool for stimulating long-lasting awareness and understanding of key issues related to aging and geriatrics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-149
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Aging game
  • Education
  • Evaluation


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