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Online ISSN 1827-1677
Massimelli M. 1, Fumagalli L. 2, Raviele M. 2, Rosate R. 3, Iorio M. 1
1 Dipartimento di Anatomia Farmacologia e Medicina Legale, Università di Torino, Torino, Italia
2 Piccola Casa della Divina Provvidenza - Ospedale Cottolengo, Torino, Italia
3 Universita' degli Studi di Torino, Torino, Italia
One of the most significant social factors characterizing modern societies in the 20th century was a steadily aging population, which resulted primarily from longer life expectancy for women and the increase in absolute terms of the oldest old segment. Over the span of just one century, life expectancy grew by several decades. Never before in human history have there ever been so many old people as those currently living in the developed countries. In Italy, mean life expectancy at birth has risen by 4.6 years for males and nearly 6 years for females, and stands as of 2005 at 79 and 84 years, respectively. The rapid shift in demographics and social structure, along with changes in lifestyle, have concurred in the emergence of modern geriatrics: a global vision of the elderly in which medical and psychosocial dimensions intersect with the related need for care. For the same reason, modern legal medicine needs to gain a new perspective on evaluation: the elderly do not differ substantially from young adults; their “fragility” requires that they be better protected. Within this new perspective, rehabilitation and insurance coverage play a pre-eminent role. This article illustrates methods, objectives, insurance coverage plans, and private health care procedures designed to restore the resources of the elderly.