The process of ageing is frequently described in terms of decline and deterioration. Limited attention is paid to the gains in later life. Studies among self-defined healthy American-born elderly and ill-healthy British-born older persons, indicated that the perception of health was determined by many dimensions other than the absence of disease and illness. The older the person, the more emphasis was placed on health as a state of mind, even in situations of a gradually failing body. It was evident that these respondents, among them the ill-healthy elderly challenged the current beliefs of health and illness as perceived by health providers.