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
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
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,
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,
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).
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
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
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
Incorporate early illness detection and associated interventions
in the primary care setting specific to the older adult
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].
ILC Global Alliance. (2011). Retirement Age. Retrieved
Pruitt, S. D., Epping-Jordan, J.E. (2005). Preparing the 21st
centuryglobal healthcare workforce. British Medical Journal, 330,
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
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