Older adults’ perceptions of ageing and their health and functioning: a systematic review of observational studies

South West PeninsulaGeneric Health Relevance
Published Date: 2 Nov 2015


Many older people perceive ageing negatively, describing it in terms of poor or declining health and functioning. These perceptions may be related to older adults’ health. The aim of this review was to synthesise existing research on the relationship between older adults’ perceptions of ageing and their health and functioning. A systematic search was conducted of five electronic databases (ASSIA, CINAHL, IBSS, MEDLINE and PsycINFO). Citations within identified reports were also searched. Observational studies were included if they included perceptions of ageing and health-related measures involving participants aged 60 years and older. Study selection, data extraction and quality appraisal were conducted using predefined criteria. Twenty-eight reports met the criteria for inclusion. Older adults’ perceptions of ageing were assessed with a variety of measures. Perceptions were related to health and functioning across seven health domains: memory and cognitive performance, physical and physiological performance, medical conditions and outcomes, disability, care-seeking, self-rated health, quality of life and death. How ageing is perceived by older adults is related to their health and functioning in multiple domains. However, higher quality and longitudinal studies are needed to further investigate this relationship.

Dr Iain Lang