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date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The biopsychosocial model of health views health and illness in old age as resulting not only from biological and physical factors but also from the cumulative effects of a lifetime of psychological, social, and behavioral processes. This model recognizes the biological trajectory of decline throughout the adult lifespan and the fact that physical changes increase older adults’ susceptibility to acute and chronic conditions. In addition, this model acknowledges that psychological and social processes interact over time with biological changes to influence physical functioning, onset and progression of disease, and adaptation to illness. The chapter is organized in three main sections. The first section emphasizes the biological component of the model, discussing trajectories of physical functioning and health in old age, including physical decline, morbidity, and mortality. The second section focuses on the psychosocial component of the biopsychosocial model, emphasizing psychosocial factors that influence physical health and functioning in old age. The chapter concludes by discussing two very different scenarios that researchers have projected for the health of future cohorts of older adults.

Keywords: Older adults, elderly, biopsychosocial model, aging, health, life expectancy

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