Who? - Elderly, chronically ill and people with physical disabilities
The elderly are a large group, but this group is quite diverse. Whether someone is included in the group of elderly people depends on the age limit that is used: sometimes the limit is 55 years, sometimes 65 years. In 2015, there were 4.1 million people aged over 55 in the Netherlands, of whom 3 million were over 65, including 0.7 million people aged over 80 years. Because people are getting older, those numbers will rise. The proportion of older non-Western migrants is increasing rapidly.
In general, the chance of illness and disability increases with age.
Different definitions exist for chronic diseases and chronic illnesses. But it is always a condition that does not pass (is irreversible), without chance of recovery, which takes a long time and often requires long-term care.
The different definitions of what is a chronic disease lead to the number of chronically ill people being assessed differently. It makes a big difference whether you include hearing disorders, problems with vision, mental limitations and migraines as chronic diseases. Depending on the definition, the number of chronically ill people varies from 4.5 million to 5.3 million (almost one third of the population).
Women are more likely to have a chronic illness than men. People with a low level of education and a low socio-economic status (low SES), including people with a migrant background, have twice as often a chronic disease as people with a higher SES.
Chronic illnesses can lead to physical limitations and disabilities.
Physical limitations and disabilities
A disorder in an organ can lead to a limitation. This means that people can not or can not perform certain actions and activities. For example, the high muscle tone and the tremors in people with Parkinson's disease have limitations. They can hardly write and perform other fine hand movements. Such limitations can lead to a disability. You speak of a disability if the patient can participate less or not in society, when his social roles such as employee, parent or member of a sports club are jeopardized. Difficulty writing and difficulty with fine hand motor skills can be a handicap when you are a teacher or playing an instrument.