Human aging is perhaps the most complex and important subject that will be facing science and societies in the next century. Persons seem to be living longer and remaining more active than their parents and grandparents.
This is leading to social and demographic shifts that must be accommodated by society. On the other hand it presents perplexing questions about the underlying processes and determinants of healthy aging.
This book gives a design for research that will increase our understanding of the factors that influence healthy aging and can lead to improvements in reducing the levels of disability in the population.
It’s focus is on biobehavioural and psychological factors contributing to healthy aging. Since human aging is determined by many interacting conditions inside and outside of the organism, research should concentrate on ecological relationships between the human organism and its social and physical environment.
Not only individual characteristics associated with aging are discussed in this book, but also their impacts on society. Living longer means most persons will have fewer years to earn money to maintain their lives in a longer retirement. How can these two forces be resolved through public policy? At the same time greater competence in the later years needs clues to ways of releasing this productivity for the benefit of society and individuals.
Adding healthy life expectancy and creating as much as possible disability-free years is a goal that can only be reached through fact finding by a multidisciplinary team of scientist collaborating on an international basis. Such a team is present in the collaborators represented in this book. The information presented in ‘Aging in Europe’ has not been available in any single source before. In many ways this book provides a model of gaining knowledge through cooperation that should guide us in the next century and beyond.