The biology of ageing
£9.95 GBP, 2 hours

By 2050, 21 per cent of the world’s population (two billion people) will be aged 60 or over, making the consequences of ageing—physical and cognitive decline, loss of functional reserve, and disability—increasingly significant. Increases in life expectancy have not been matched by improvements in overall health. Older adults are sicker for longer, frequently with multiple chronic health conditions that reduce quality of life, cause disability, and place an increasing burden on societies. 

Ageing is the single greatest risk factor for numerous chronic health conditions. Delaying ageing could reduce the incidence of chronic disease. Prolonging the human health-span—years lived in optimum health—would reduce the impact of ageing on individuals and societies. As more is learned about the ageing process, interventions that genuinely extend the lifespan and the health-span are more possible.

Understanding normal ageing allows nurses to distinguish natural decline in function from deterioration due to illness. Older adults are among the most vulnerable of patients and provide complex challenges for nursing, but too often, their care is left to underqualified and poorly paid carers. 

After completing this online activity and quiz, you should be able to:

  • Outline molecular and physiological causes of ageing.
  • Describe the impact of ageing on the body.
  • Define frailty and the impact of chronic disease on the ageing process.
  • Discuss interventions that promote healthy ageing.
The PDF that accompanies this activity was first published in the November 2017 issue of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand


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