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The increasing proportion of very old people in the population means that how to 'age well', even in later old age, is now an important issue for policymakers and researchers, as well as for older people themselves.

The key question is how 'ageing well' is best achieved. Early evidence suggested that high physical, mental and social functioning were all important components of 'ageing well', but there are now increasing indications that older people can compensate and experience good mental health even if physical health is poor and that social interaction in particular may be important.

This policy brief draws on research from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, exploring what factors are associated with successful ageing amongst the oldest old in the UK.

The brief also discusses the implications of the research for health policy directed toward the oldest old age-groups.

The research and this policy brief were made possible by the support of the Nuffield Foundation.

Authors: Emily Grundy, Astrid Fletcher, Sarah Smith, Donna Lamping

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