Aging Research

Quality of Life and Well-Being of the Very Old in NRW (Representative Study NRW80+)

Duration : 01/2016-12/2018
Project Board
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Rietz
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Wagner
  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen
  • Prof. Dr. Susanne Zank
  • Dr. Roman Kaspar
Funding Institution: MKW

Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia

Background and Current State of Research

During the last century, life expectancy in general has increased tremendously. Of all age groups, the Very Old of 80+ years have become the fastest growing age group in our society. Today, they already count more than one million people in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) alone. However, we still lack basic insight into the realities, the quality and the circumstances of life of the Very Old, while such knowledge is necessary to better understand specific needs and to determine how society can be shaped to accommodate them. This research project sets out to close that gap. It is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia for a period of three years with a total of 1.5 million Euros. 


NRW80+ is the first study that aims at generating representative assertions regarding living conditions, quality of life and subjective well-being of the Very Old in Germany. 1.800 individuals above 80 years are being surveyed across NRW in order to provide a comprehensive and realistic picture. This will allow for the development of practical concepts to improve everyday life, e.g. in relation to medical care and nursing, in both urban and rural environments, but also regarding general living conditions that will enable people to live fulfilled lives and to increase their subjective well-being.

NRW80+ brings together a variety of different disciplines that are involved in ceres, allowing us to link descriptive results with evaluative appraisal and normative analysis. This novel approach aims at creating a comprehensive pool of expertise and data in order to develop practical and integrated solutions within a general framework for an age-friendly society. Moreover, these findings will provide integrative knowledge that can in turn be applied to other projects of the emerging inter- and transdisciplinary aging research currently being established as a key research area at the University of Cologne and at ceres.


Dr. Roman Kaspar

ceres – Cologne Center for Ethics, Rights, Economics, and Social Sciences of Health
Universitätsstr. 91
50931 Cologne

+49 (0)221 470-89121