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Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health
Together for more healthy years
Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health Research Future-proof health and care systems in an ageing society

Future-proof health and care systems in an ageing society

What is this Research Community about?

The Research Community will address the major public health challenge posed by population ageing. By 2040, one in four Dutch residents will be over 65. This demographic shift presents both opportunities and challenges. Many people hope to live a long life, during which they can pursue new dreams. Health is a vital prerequisite. Yet, the prevalence of chronic conditions is high among Dutch older people, partly due to urbanisation, modernisation, globalisation, and accompanying changes in risk factors and lifestyles. Moreover, an ageing population is likely to be associated with a shrinking workforce and higher demand for health care, social care, and social pensions. A comprehensive public health approach to population ageing - one that reflects the needs, capacities, and aspirations of older people and the changing contexts and systems in which they function - is needed.

What is the community focusing for?

We aim to support a well-informed and comprehensive public health to population ageing approach on three levels:

  • Health governance, policy and institutional frameworks. We intend to study the impact of laws, regulations and financial arrangements on health and wellbeing;

  • Physical, social and cultural environments. Environments directly impact older people’s health and wellbeing, and shape their experiences. We aim to reduce inequalities and enhance equity;

  • Innovative interventions. Through our research, we intend to contribute directly to more immediate improvement of older people’s health and wellbeing. We aim to focus on interventions that are attractive and suitable for an intergenerational approach, such as boxing, dancing, volunteering, working with animals and being in nature.

Our research network will build on a systems approach, acknowledging the complexity and interconnectedness of all the phenomena and outcomes we aim to study. Furthermore, we will employ a participatory approach, ensuring that older people themselves are involved in the research, and that research questions and outcomes are meaningful and of value to them. Researchers, professionals, policy makers and experts by experience will be among the community members.

Why this Community?

The health and care challenges in our ageing society are wicked in nature and tough to tackle. We believe that the problems many older people encounter are systemic in nature and should be addressed as such. Moreover, these problems might be interconnected. We need research power, professional power, policy power and experience power in order to understand and start solving the challenges. That is why we established this community.

Who is the community captain?


Karine van ‘t Land, MD PhD

‘I think that our current health and care systems for older people can greatly benefit from a comprehensive public health approach. We urgently need more prevention and collective and societal solutions. Older people have the right to the best possible health, implying that we should all strive to create a health-promoting and supportive society. It’s wonderful that this Research Community contributes to these solutions.’

Join the community!

View this page in: Nederlands