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Proactive ageing

Children and adults are baking. Photo: Johan Bävman.

By studying different stages of ageing and focusing on people in midlife, researchers at Lund University are developing proactive approaches for health care, social services and community planning. This will contribute to improved health and quality of life for future generations of older people.

Dementia and arthritis are examples of diseases that become more common as we get older, and to some extent depend on our lifestyle in younger years. Loneliness and problematic alcohol consumption are some of the factors that affect the risk of illness in old age. Moreover, attitudes to ageing, our standard of living and the environment have effects on activity and participation in later life.

Research targeting younger people

Preventive measures to promote healthy ageing from midlife - or even earlier - are therefore needed. Here, transdisciplinary research targeting younger people, such as today's 50- and 60-year-olds, has a crucial role to play.

Researchers in this profile area:

  • study diseases associated with brain ageing
  • examine the relationship between the environment and older people's activity, participation, mobility and health
  • consider the needs, wishes and abilities of older people in the development of new technologies for future generations
  • develop interdisciplinary and cross-boundary strategies and methodologies for proactive ageing research
  • place particular focus on cognitive and musculoskeletal health as prerequisites for activity and participation
  • include ethical, social, cultural, and societal perspectives
  • develop methods for identifying people at risk of disease or who are vulnerable in other ways, using economic, social, and biological markers.

This profile area brings together world-leading researchers in medicine, health sciences, social and behavioural sciences, economics, law, science and technology.

Collaboration areas

In close cooperation with civil society, the public sector and business, the researchers in proactive ageing develop new understanding and strategies that promote activity and participation for future generations of older people.

For some people, living with arthritis has a huge impact on their daily lives. Regardless of the magnitude of problems the condition causes, being able to go to a single website to find answers to questions that may arise could make things easier.

The Arthritis Portal provides easy-to-read, reliable information about arthritis straight from researchers. It features research news such as information about the disease, interviews, information about potential treatments and exercise tips.

The Arthritis Portal –

The ability to live an active and healthy life is influenced by where and how we live. Not only is the population ageing, but so is the housing stock. The vast majority of people live in ordinary homes into old age, but daily life can be difficult for those ageing with a disability or living in neighbourhoods with inadequate services or unsafe environments.

Researchers are therefore providing new knowledge that can be used to create supportive living environments and advice for people thinking about moving later in life.

Today it is possible to predict whether someone will develop Alzheimer's disease in 15 years' time using biomarkers in the spinal fluid. Researchers are developing ways to look at other conditions or life situations so that remedial action can be taken at an early stage. An early and correct diagnosis is crucial in order to provide patients with the right treatment and support.

Studying different forms of ageism, researchers can help combat stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination against older people. For example, researchers examine the rules and attitudes that are particularly prevalent in organisations that provide help and support to older citizens. They develop models that shed light on ageism and strengthen the social rights of older people.

Profile area at LU

Proactive ageing is one of five profile areas at Lund University. The area's unique research aims to improve people's lives and solve global problems.

Susanne Iwarsson
Phone: +46 46 222 19 40
Mobile: +46 703 17 31 11
susanne [dot] iwarsson [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se (susanne[dot]iwarsson[at]med[dot]lu[dot]se)

Research database

Related researchers, projects and publications.

Lund University Research Portal

Latest news in proactive ageing