This article explores age differences in preferences for current health states, which is one way to measure trade-offs between "quantity of life" and the "quality" of those health states. Data are from 17,707 adult outpatients visiting 46 primary care, managed care practices. Patient preferences (utility) for their current health were assessed by standard gamble and time trade-off methods. Although older primary care patients' utility measurements for their current health were lower than other patient groups, most of the difference in value measurements was attributable to differences in health. Health providers should take care to assess individual preferences from all patients regardless of age.
Reprinted with permission from The Gerontologist, Vol. 39, No. 3, June 1999. Copyright © 1999 Gerontological Society of America.