Rehabilitation: small goals, sustained interventions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Rehabilitation to restore and maintain functioning in older people is relatively new. Traditionally, ageist prejudices and the medical preoccupation with cure have led to neglect of chronic disabilities in older people. With a focus on an aging population, however, a new approach to rehabilitation is taking shape at the confluence of geriatric and psychosocial approaches. Significant components of this emerging approach are: setting small goals as incentives for motivating the patient, the timing of the disability within the individual's life course, coping behavior and the way the disability is defined, the importance of social support to the recovery potential, and the incorporation of sustained interventions into daily routines and life-styles. This article illustrates this approach with examples from common disabling conditions, proposing that the quality of aging can be markedly enhanced for older people suffering from functional disability.

published proceedings

  • Ann Am Acad Pol Soc Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Ory, M. G., & Williams, T. F.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Ory, MG||Williams, TF

publication date

  • May 1989