A longitudinal analysis of older Australian women's consultations with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners, 1996-2005.
Due to the natural aging processes, older people are particularly susceptible to a range of chronic health conditions. However, despite that research has indicated that chronic health conditions and disability act as reliable predictors of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) use, despite research evidence that older people are significant consumers of CAM, and regardless of the potential for CAM to enhance successful aging, reduce frailty, and increase independence and quality of life in older persons, older people's use of CAM therapies remains under-researched. This paper reviews what existing research literature is there on CAM use in older age; considers rates of and potential for use, features of and barriers to use, and economic, effectiveness and safety issues. From these beginnings, outlined is a wide-ranging research agenda on CAM and older people.