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  • Aging in the NetherlandsShara Batson1, JessieMae Belcher1, Patrick Binio1, Chelsey Billig1, Nathan Cutler1, Ally George1, Hannah Fowler1, Taylor Kresconko1,

    Mattea Ringey1, Kristina Unikewicz1, and Hendrika Maltby PhD, RN21UVM Nursing students; 2UVM Faculty




    Objective Data

    Discussion Limitations


    By identifying areas of need for the growing aging population, interventions were explored that could help the older adult population of Maastricht, Netherlands.

    A community assessment based on Stanhope and Lancaster (2014) was conducted examining issues such as healthcare and housing needs for people over age 65.

    Using observations, perceptions, community member interviews, and research on the Maastricht area to assess the community core; history, demographics, ethnicity, and values and beliefs of the community.

    The group assessed subsystems, which include the physical environment, health and social services, economy, transportation and safety, politics and government, communication, education, and recreation of the community.

    The aging population is defined as adults who are 65 and older, as it is encouraged by the Netherlands to retire by that age (International Longevity Center Global Alliance, 2011).

    In 2011 there were 15.6 per 1,000 people 65 and older living in the Netherlands and it is estimated that this number will increase to 24.8 per 1,000 people by 2060 (Statistics Netherlands, 2010).

    A shift is occurring in the number of acute or episodic illness to greater prevalence of chronic illnesses. Chronic diseases will continue to be more prevalent in the future because of the aging population. (Pruitt & Epping-Jordan, 2005).

    The most prevalent diseases in the Netherlands are chronic, such as: Lung Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, and several other lung diseases as reported by the Central Statistics Office (2015).

    The percentage of elderly people in residential care is decreasing and will continue to decrease; almost 95% of senior citizens live independently. To meet this demand, the number of houses suitable for senior citizens and those with functional limitations will have to increase from 1.8 million in 2009 to 2.16 million in 2018 (Smits, Van Den Beld, Aartsen, & Schroots, 2013).

    Dutch nursing students at Amsterdams Academic Medical Center are exploring strategies to prevent isolation in older adults in the Amsterdam community through engagement with university students and participation in senior center activities (AMC nursing students, personal communication, March 9, 2015).

    Research is being conducted concerning how to better serve older adults in the community setting by incorporating early disease detection and health interventions using primary care as a platform (Stijnen, Duimel-Peeters, Jansen, & Vrijhoef, 2013).

    The social and physical well-being of older adults is improved with a heightened sense of belonging in their communities (Cramm & Nieboer, 2015).

    Language barrier

    Restricted geographical area

    Small population size

    Short time available for research

    An employee of the Molenhof senior housing facility reported that the facility is closing due to lack of funding.

    Citizens reported that they believed that the primary disease that affected their community was cancer but did not appear concerned about the widespread presence of smoking.

    Dutch nursing students reported that they did not receive any specific training in regards to caring for older adults.

    According to one city office employee in Maastricht, there are regular neighborhood meetings held to discuss issues specific to that neighborhood and/or the larger community. One neighborhood member is designated as a liaison between the neighborhood and City Hall.


    Increase awareness of government policy makers about the health concerns of the aging population.

    Incorporate gerontology courses in nursing school curriculums as greater education about the needs of older adults and the treatment of chronic diseases is necessary due to the shift from acute to chronic disease.

    Strengthen arrangements that foster social ties between older adults and their neighbors like the neighborhood meetings held in Maastricht or other informal neighbor volunteer support programs.

    Incorporate early illness detection and associated interventions in the primary care setting specific to the older adult population.

    Cramm, J. M., Nieboer, A. P. (2015). Social cohesion and belonging predict the well-being of community-dwelling older people. BMC Geriatrics, 15(30). doi:10.1186/s12877-015-0027-y

    Central Statistics Office (2015). Population [Data file]. Retrieved from

    ILC Global Alliance. (2011). Retirement Age. Retrieved from

    Pruitt, S. D., Epping-Jordan, J.E. (2005). Preparing the 21st centuryglobal healthcare workforce. British Medical Journal, 330, 637-639

    Smits, C., Van Den Beld, H.K., Aartsen, M., Schroots, J. (2013).Aging in the netherlands: State of the art and science. ThecGerontologist. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnt096

    Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2014). Public health nursing:Population-centered health care in the community. MarylandHeights, MO: Elsevier Mosby

    Statistics Netherland. (2010). Population forecasts; key figures,2010-2060.Retrieved from:

    Stijnen, M., Duimel-Peeters, I., Jansen, M., Vrijhoef, H. (2013). Early detection of health problems in potentially frail community-dwelling older people by general practices - project [G]OLD: Design of a longitudinal, quasi-experimental study. BMC Geriatrics, 13(7). doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-7

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