The proportion of the population with multiple illnesses increases with age and growing numbers of people are now living to a very old age. Despite medical progress and improved living conditions, many old people have to deal with physical, psychological, and social impairments. It is a crucial challenge for health and social policy to support the elderly with health-related impairments in their desire to lead as independent a life as possible. Against this background the research consortium Autonomy Despite Multimorbidity in Old Age (AMA I) examined the extent to which the self-determined life style of multimorbid old and very old persons can be supported and maintained. In order to reflect the diversity of life worlds of the elderly, the study sample included participants who were not notably impaired in their everyday functioning, participants in need of nursing care and participants with cognitive impairments. Moreover, the sample comprised both older persons who were still living in their own homes and nursing home residents. The studies conducted within the AMA framework focused on the resources available to old persons living in different situations and on how these resources can be strengthened. This article presents findings from the first phase of funding of the AMA research consortium. In a second phase of funding (2011-2013, AMA II), sustainable practice-based interventions are being developed to mobilize resources which can help multimorbid older persons to maintain their autonomy and the practical viability of these interventions will be tested.