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Quality of Life and Subjective Well-Being of the Very Old in NRW  (NRW-Hochaltrigenstudie: NRW-HS)

The increase in average life expectancy at birth over the last hundred years is impressive, ascending from 44 years for women and 41 years for men in 1900 to 83 years for women and 78 years for men in 2009. In 2009, there were 1.5 million people aged 85 and above living in Germany, which equals 2% of the population.

For the year 2060, a rise to 6 million is predicted (with constant birth rate), which would represent 9% of the population. From a long term perspective, it is a key challenge for societal development to provide the necessary conditions for preserving the quality of life and well-being on the basis of sound scientific knowledge.

Therefore, the long-term goal of this research group is to conduct a theoretically and methodologically unique study about very old age in North Rhine-Westphalia. On a descriptive level, representative data will be generated on the situation of the very old in NRW in different areas of life from the perspective of various disciplines.

The descriptive results will be linked with evaluative appraisal and normative analysis to enhance our understanding and allow for a systematic reflection on quality of life and subjective well-being of the very old in NRW. Based on these comprehensive findings, practical solutions can be developed e.g. to improve medical and nursing care of the very old. Moreover, living environments in various urban and rural areas can be designed on this basis in a way that good living conditions and a high subjective well-being can be maintained until the last phase of life.

The objective of the current project is to conduct a feasibility study to clarify methodological requirements such as the sampling procedures, response rate, selection of scales and instruments, and proteomics analysis in order to conduct an interdisciplinary study about subjective well-being and quality of life of the very old.