Challenges and opportunities for developing and implementing incentives to improve health-related behaviors in older adults

Eran Klein, Jason Karlawish

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations


There is growing interest in using patient-directed incentives to change health-related behaviors. Advocates of incentive programs have proposed an ambitious research agenda for moving patient incentive programs forward. The unique cognitive and psychological features of older adults, however, present a challenge to this agenda. In particular, age-related changes in emotional regulation, executive function, and cognitive capacities, and a preference for collaborative decision-making raise questions about the suitability of these programs, particularly the structure of current financial incentives, for older adults. Differences in decision-making in older adults need to be accounted for in the design and implementation of financial incentive programs. Financial incentive programs adjusted to characteristics of older adult populations may be more likely to improve the lives of older persons and the economic success of programs that serve them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1758-1763
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010



  • behavior change
  • decision-making capacity
  • elderly
  • financial incentives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this