Happy and healthy aging: Well-being, resources and self-management abilities

Afdeling Gezondheidswetenschappen, Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen, Groningen.
Tijdschrift voor gerontologie en geriatrie 12/2009; 40(6):244-52.
Source: PubMed


This article gives an overview of the research program directed by the author. First, the integrated theoretical framework of the program is presented, including sub-theories. The following assumptions are central to the program: (a) there are physical and social basic needs that, if not fulfilled, lead to deficits in well-being; (b) for the fulfilment of these basic needs both external resources and self-management abilities (internal resources) are needed; (c) self-management abilities and external resources mutually influence each other, which makes it possible to intervene. This theoretical basis allows the formulation of clear criteria for happy and healthy aging, and the derivation of the most important (social) conditions that influence the fulfilment of the basic needs. The article also presents the main empirical tests and intervention studies that have been executed, along with the first steps that have been taken to implement the interventions in practice. Recently, the program is focussing more on a lifespan perspective because important influences on happy and healthy aging often originate at younger ages. More insight in the life-span development of external resources and of self-management ability promises a better understanding of what happy and healthy aging is about and of what can be done to positively influence it.

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