The elderly patient is particularly susceptible to suffer morbidity after major thoracic surgical procedures. Previous work from Brigham & Women's Hospital has shown that this subgroup has a thirteen-fold higher incidence of postoperative dementia after non-cardiac thoracic surgery. The full recovery time from major thoracic surgical procedures is poorly understood in this subgroup. This is an extremely pertinent issue. Current data are unavailable to advise the eighty-five-year-old patient with a presumed early stage lung cancer as to which treatment option may be expected to maximize the future quality of life. New instruments of measurement are required to address these issues. I am currently developing clinical measurements of the elderly patient's functional status, motivation for surgery, understanding of surgery, and quality of life. I plan to test these measurements in our outpatient elderly population over the next year.