How was rank assigned? Not by age, but by how long you had been at the monastery. Thus, a younger monk who had been a part of the monastery longer had a higher rank than the older monk with less time in the community:
1The monks keep their rank in the monastery according to the date of their entry...5Absolutely nowhere shall age automatically determine rank...And yet, the chapter goes on to describe all the ways the younger monks are to defer to and respect the older monks:
10The younger monks, then, must respect their seniors, and the seniors must love their juniors. 11When they address one another, no one should be allowed to do so simply by name; 12rather, the seniors call the younger monks "brother" and the younger monks call their seniors nonnus, which is translated as "venerable father"...13Wherever brothers meet, the junior asks his senior for a blessing. 14When an older monk comes by, the younger rises and offers him a seat, and does not presume to sit down unless the older bids him. 17In this way, they do what the words of Scripture say: "They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other" (Rom. 12:10).Reflecting on this, I think age discrimination is a big problem in a lot of churches. Reflecting the idols of the American culture, youth, energy and vitality is prized, honored and worshiped. Old age is shunned, pushed to the margins. Once your hair greys you aren't much use to a hip, vibrant, young church.
I think you can tell a lot about a church by the way they treat, yes, the poor and the disabled, but also the way they treat the elderly.