Prevention: Key to healthy ageing

H. Bouma, V. T. Taipale, J. E.M.H. van Bronswijk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim Prevention technology provides tools for realizing healthy ageing. Gerontechnology has evolved from 'technology for compensating restrictions of old age' to a scientific domain at the crossroad between gerontology and technology. It fosters cross-fertilization in research, engineering and design. Its mission is to enable good quality of life to the highest possible age including the prevention and delay of chronic conditions among which frailty and disabilities, in short: healthy ageing. Method Three-fold desk research on (i) analysis of existing successes and failures in prevention by public health engineering in main domains of life; (ii) different paradigms in gerontology for preventing disease and finding the best environmental fit including epigenetics; (iii) reflections on the role played by people themselves in taking care of their health, as exemplified by a recent shift in health paradigm for ageing people. Results Public Health Engineering has yielded impressive preventive gains in several domains but other domains remain to be conquered. Primary prevention of disease has come in three historic waves: Communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, and mental illness of which prevention is still in its infancy. Prevention appears as a life-long issue. Contributions of technology are indicated together with their possible actors. Targets for secondary prevention of threats in old age are formulated. New vast resources, also of ageing people for realizing preventive gains are provided by Internet, tablets, and mobile phone technologies; but hindrances have to be cleared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-20
Number of pages17
JournalGerontechnology
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Healthy ageing
  • Independence
  • Prevention
  • Public health engineering

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