One of the major achievements of medicine in this century is its contribution to the increase in life expectancy at birth. Nowadays. this is reflected in the growing Humber of older adults. Unfortunately, part of this group will spend old age in poor health. The consequences for older individuals, their care givers and the society at large. raises the question whether the occurrence of disease in later life can be postponed or even prevented. Prevention of disease can have different aims. Firstly. it call be directed at preventing premature death. Secondly. prevention can aim at reducing morbidity. If our preventive programmes are successful, morbidity may be compressed to a short period at the end of life. However, if preventive programmes also increase life expectancy, expansion of morbidity may occur. Thirdly, preventive efforts can try to improve functional status and maintain independence of older adults.

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A.W. Hoes (Arno) , A. Prins (Ad)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Financial support for the publication of this thesis by the Netherlands Heart Foundation and Merck Sharp & Dohme is gratefully acknowledged.
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Berg, P. (1999, September). Preventive care in the elderly: Studies on cardiovascular disease and hearing loss. Retrieved from