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The older individual



November 27 2017 till February 2 2017.

Admission requirements

Bachelor degree and admission to Master Vitality & Ageing.


In this course students gain understanding about perspectives of older people on health and ageing. We will first focus on risk and resilience factors that determine vitality and well-being. Older individuals differ greatly not only as to the extent to which they experience increasing somatic, functional and social changes or limitations, but also in their self-regulation abilities to adapt to adversity and to reach goals that people consider important to themselves. Therefore, alongside calendar age, the concept of biological age is very important to understand individual differences. In this course, the notion of vitality and resilience will be further explained by introducing common challenges to health in older age.

Common diseases and conditions among older people comprise conditions like osteoarthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia and depression. Other problems affecting day-to-day activities such as mobility problems, incontinence, cognitive problems and sensory disorders also often occur with increasing age. Moreover, many older individuals experience several concurrent chronic conditions (multimorbidity or comorbidity) and experience problems with multiple pharmacological medications (toxity).

In this course, students gain a basic understanding of such diseases and limitations which are common in ageing individuals. A brief introduction of these challenges to health will be used to elaborate on personalized health care, vitality in older age, screening for risk and resilience factors, goal-setting and other multidisciplinary interventions for older people to enhance personalized health care. Students will learn that the goal of health care for these older individuals is not only a matter of maintaining physical and mental health, but also remaining independence and participation in social activities. The ability of older people to adapt and to reach goals that they consider important, will contribute to their vitality.

Course objectives

The student:

  • describes common diseases and impairments in older people and explain their effects on health and vitality
    •is able to explain how somatic, psychological, functional and social mechanisms are related to the concepts of biological age and vitality

  • is able to analyse problems in light of multimorbidity and evaluate and apply innovations on case evaluations taking the perspectives of older persons into account

  • is able to apply and review the value of the concepts such as risk and resilience factors, vitality in older age, goal-setting and other multidisciplinary interventions for older persons as a response to challenges to health and well-being

  • is able to critically establish the value and applicability of scientific results and studies for the older population.

  • is able to judge the appropriateness and chance of success of innovations for the cure, care or wellbeing of older people, using the concepts of vitality and ageing

Mode of instruction

Interactive lectures, tutor groups, activities, self-study assignments.

Assessment method

Written exam and oral and written assignments, in groups or individually. More information will be published on blackboard.

Reading list

Will be published on blackboard.