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The older individual



Semester 1, 26 November 2018 - 1 February 2019

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 regarding their self-regulation abilities to adapt to adversity and to reach personal goals. 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, self-management and shared decision making 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 independent, participation in social activities and having a purpose in life. Subsequently, this knowledge about challenges to vitality among ageing individuals will enable students to develop their own intervention to target a specific challenge. Students will acquire knowledge and basic skills regarding developing and implementing an intervention that is tailored to a target group of ageing individuals.

Course objectives

The student:

  • is able to describe common diseases and impairments in older people

  • is able to explain how somatic, psychological, functional and social mechanisms are related to vitality

  • 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 analyse problems in light of multimorbidity

  • is able to analyse and identify the underlying mechanisms of challenges to vitality in older age •is able to explain the process of developing, implementing and evaluating innovations or interventions for ageing individuals and can describe how the perspective of the target group should be taken into account.

  • is able to apply the knowledge regarding intervention development to find a solution for a specific challenge

  • 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, working groups, activities like a mini-symposium, co-creation with elderly, self-study assignments.
The educational lines Communication in Science, Research and Evidence and Academic Development accommodate the programme and/or the assignments of this course.

Course Load

The total course load is: 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Interactive lectures, working groups and activities: 100 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 60 hours

  • Preparation lectures, working groups and activities: 45 hours

  • Writing assignment: 60 hours

  • Video pitch: 15 hours

Assessment method

  • Written exam

  • Written innovation paper (prepared in groups, written individually)

  • Video-pitch about innovation

  • Completion of compulsory assignments described in the assessment plan


The final grade is based on the written exam (50%) and the written innovation paper (40%) and the video-pitch about the innovation (10%). Credits will only be given if all compulsory assessments are completed.

The written innovation paper and the video-pitch will also be assessed separately by Communication in Science.

Participation and attendance

Students are expected to be actively engaged in discussion of the content and in the activities scheduled in the programme.


If the written exam is not passed, the student will get a retake.
If another assessment or mandatory part of the course is not passed or completed, the student will get a retake or revision or has to fulfil an alternative assignment.

Exam review

How and when a review of the assessments will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the results at the latest.
More information will be published on blackboard.

Elective students

Please contact the study advisor if you want to apply for this elective. Additional information can also be requested from the study advisor. You can contact the study advisor via

The educational lines taught in Vitality and Ageing are integrated in this course. It is mandatory to complete the components belonging to Communication in Science, Academic Development, and Research and Evidence. Elective students will be awarded 12 EC in total for this course.

Reading list

Will be published on blackboard.