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Traditional health care of the expanding elderly population has focused on illness diagnosis and management. However, because more individuals, women especially, are living longer and living better, the emphasis should be shifted and modified to include primary health care for elderly people. Primary health care includes active health promotion and health maintenance, prevention of illness or disability, and attention to the quality as much as to the quantity of life. Unfortunately, the health concerns of elderly women, especially the oldest-old groups who live more or less independently, have been addressed inadequately in medical and nursing literature. Routine approaches to health care for women aged 70 and older must consider women's apparent hardiness, potential social isolation, and unique worries about safety and independence. Nurse practitioners in adult health, family practice, and gerontology must expand their repertoire of health promotion and health maintenance strategies to meet the needs of this special population. This article outlines the role of the nurse practitioner in the care of the well elderly woman.