Aging in Europe: a cluster analysis of the elderly in 4 European countries according to their views on successful aging

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Abstract

Introduction:

Concepts like “healthy aging,” “successful aging,” “aging with high functional ability” or “aging well” have been used increasingly in the last few years.

Objective:

The main goal of our survey was to describe the representation of pleasure and their patterns in people aged 65 and older in 4 European countries. Our second aim was to study the characteristics of each country regarding successful aging.

Methods:

This cross-sectional study including >4000 seniors was based on an online survey conducted with people aged 65 and older in 4 European countries: France, Belgium, Italy, and Germany. Our sample was representative of the population aged 65 and older in each of the countries surveyed. The survey took place from August 20 to September 29, 2014.

Results:

Cluster analysis led us to define 6 profiles of elderly people with regards to “living well, aging well.” The profiles ranged from “fragile and aged” to “familial hedonist” with “socially inclined” and “independent” elders falling in the middle. Groups were not evenly distributed across countries, suggesting geographic variations in the process of aging.

Discussion:

“Aging well” is a complex concept, and people from different countries have varying expectations of successful aging.

Conclusion:

Further studies are needed to determine how tailored interventions can best address the needs of elderly people with different views and expectations regarding successful aging.

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