Although elderly people are in a very different situation compared to patients of hospitals and psychiatric clinics, housing and cure and care institutions that are specifically designed for them are usually considered to be part of a country’s public health system. Only since the period of industrialization and urbanization did the elderly lose their aura of being wise and experienced: the rapid introduction of new production processes threatened to make their expertise obsolete. Whereas the well-do-to knew how to take care of themselves, the majority faced social decline and poverty. Most of the institutional facilities to targeting the problems this entailed developed in the twentieth century (though there are famous predecessors that sometimes have their origin in de Middle Ages). In the 1950s and 1960s, some countries – notably the Netherlands – built extensive networks of care and cure institutions for the elderly; heavily criticized in the 1970s, these systems were gradually replaced with less institutional networks since the late 1980s.