Living well with chronic disease for those older adults living in the community

Richard A. Burns, Colette Browning, Hal L. Kendig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Definitions of successful aging that incorporate dimensions of physical capacity and medical conditions are limited owing to the normative nature of experiencing medical conditions with age. We examine the capacity for older adults living in the community to live well with or without chronic disease as they age. Method: Participants (n = 1,001) were from the Melbourne Longitudinal Studies on Healthy Ageing (MELSHA) study who were aged 65+ years at baseline, were living in the community and followed for 16 years. Results: Aging was associated with not living well (OR = 1.21; p < 0.001) and having a chronic disease (OR = 1.09; p < 0.001). There was increasing proportion of older adults not living well with chronic disease as they aged. Those not living well were at a substantial risk of death with (OR = 3.63; p < 0.001) or without (OR = 3.59; p < 0.001) chronic disease. Discussion: The defining normative experience for older adults is that they are more likely to have a chronic disease and importantly not be living well with chronic disease as they age. However, it was the state of not living well that reflected the most substantial vulnerability for mortality, not chronic disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)835-843
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • aging
  • health aging
  • longitudinal studies
  • quality of life (QoL)

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