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Postponement of senescence and morbidity: a review of theory and research

Stepukonis, F and Svensson, Torbjörn LU (2006) In Gerontologija VII(1). p.43-56
Abstract
The theoretical background and research evidence supporting two alternative scenarios – worsening health and improving health at increasing life expectancy is analyzed. It is shown that the prevailing “longer life – worse health” theory is based on the logic that due to the reduced birth-rate and increased proportion of older citizens the process of population aging is taking place, leading to an increased rate in old-age related chronic diseases and disability prevalence and, consequently, to a worse health of the whole population. In addition, the trend towards a worse health stimulates improvements in medical technologies, giving the possibility to postpone the death of old-aged diseased / disabled individuals with a very poor health.... (More)
The theoretical background and research evidence supporting two alternative scenarios – worsening health and improving health at increasing life expectancy is analyzed. It is shown that the prevailing “longer life – worse health” theory is based on the logic that due to the reduced birth-rate and increased proportion of older citizens the process of population aging is taking place, leading to an increased rate in old-age related chronic diseases and disability prevalence and, consequently, to a worse health of the whole population. In addition, the trend towards a worse health stimulates improvements in medical technologies, giving the possibility to postpone the death of old-aged diseased / disabled individuals with a very poor health. The opposite “longer life – better health” theory is based on the assumption that due to approaching the genetically programmed upper limit for life expectancy, the further increase in life expectancy will decelerate, causing deceleration of population aging. Besides, postponement of aging and compression of morbidity to the end of individual’s lives can be expected due to the growing welfare, health prevention, improved nutrition, reduced health risk factors and spread of healthy lifestyle. These factors will have a bigger effect on the prolongation of survival compared with the effect from survival prolongation of people with very poor health. In papers a review of an intermediate between the two theories, the “dynamical equilibrium” scenario is presented. In Discussion an analysis of strengths and weaknesses for both scenarios, as well as of the intermediate scenario is presented. It is argued that the “longer life – better health” scenario is more plausible as it is supported not only by theoretical assumptions, but also by growing research evidence. The social economic consequences are discussed in case this optimistic scenario towards successful aging would be verified as the general. (Less)
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author
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organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
successful aging, life expectancy, postponement aging, dynamical equilibrium, health, compression of morbidity
in
Gerontologija
volume
VII
issue
1
pages
43 - 56
publisher
Gerontološko društvo Srbije
ISSN
0354-415X
language
English
LU publication?
yes
additional info
The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Occupational Therapy (Closed 2012) (013025000)
id
48200a32-cf50-4a8a-8362-f989b36c251b (old id 1136968)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 16:46:31
date last changed
2018-11-21 20:44:06
@article{48200a32-cf50-4a8a-8362-f989b36c251b,
  abstract     = {The theoretical background and research evidence supporting two alternative scenarios – worsening health and improving health at increasing life expectancy is analyzed. It is shown that the prevailing “longer life – worse health” theory is based on the logic that due to the reduced birth-rate and increased proportion of older citizens the process of population aging is taking place, leading to an increased rate in old-age related chronic diseases and disability prevalence and, consequently, to a worse health of the whole population. In addition, the trend towards a worse health stimulates improvements in medical technologies, giving the possibility to postpone the death of old-aged diseased / disabled individuals with a very poor health. The opposite “longer life – better health” theory is based on the assumption that due to approaching the genetically programmed upper limit for life expectancy, the further increase in life expectancy will decelerate, causing deceleration of population aging. Besides, postponement of aging and compression of morbidity to the end of individual’s lives can be expected due to the growing welfare, health prevention, improved nutrition, reduced health risk factors and spread of healthy lifestyle. These factors will have a bigger effect on the prolongation of survival compared with the effect from survival prolongation of people with very poor health. In papers a review of an intermediate between the two theories, the “dynamical equilibrium” scenario is presented. In Discussion an analysis of strengths and weaknesses for both scenarios, as well as of the intermediate scenario is presented. It is argued that the “longer life – better health” scenario is more plausible as it is supported not only by theoretical assumptions, but also by growing research evidence. The social economic consequences are discussed in case this optimistic scenario towards successful aging would be verified as the general.},
  author       = {Stepukonis, F and Svensson, Torbjörn},
  issn         = {0354-415X},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {43--56},
  publisher    = {Gerontološko društvo Srbije},
  series       = {Gerontologija},
  title        = {Postponement of senescence and morbidity: a review of theory and research},
  volume       = {VII},
  year         = {2006},
}