Aging in Europe : a cluster analysis of the elderly in 4 European countries

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

 

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 og each countriy regarding successful aging.

 

Methods

This cross-sectional study including more than 4000 seniors was based on an online survey conducted with people aged 65 and older in 4 European countries :

  • France
  • Belgium
  • Italy
  • 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 "independant" elders falling in the middle. Groups were not evenly distributed across countries, suggesting geographic variations in the process of aging.

 

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