Abstract Current health-psychological theories and research mainly cover improvement of health, recovery from illness or maintenance of health. With this theoretical manuscript, we argue that in ageing societies in which chronic illness and multimorbidity become the norm rather than the exception, this focus of health psychology is no longer sufficient. Instead, in line with a recent conceptualisation of health as "the ability to adapt and to self-manage" (Huber et al., 2001, p. 2), we suggest that the centre point of a health psychology of ageing needs to be the stabilisation of health. Current theories of life-span development, such as the model of selection, optimisation and compensation, the motivational theory of life span development, the two-process model of assimilative and accomodative coping and the recently introduced functional quality of life model are described with regard to their assumptions and related research focussing on stabilisation. All of these models explicitly comprise stabilisation as an important process of successful, healthy ageing. So far, however, the empirical research examining these models does not take stabilisation into account. Implications for research methods and practice of health stabilisation are discussed.