This chapter examines several methodological approaches to monitoring temporal patterns of health in later life that may be applied to rural populations. It focuses on the concept of “health trajectory” as part of a strategy that will allow to bring population-based health statistics together with the richness and diversity of clinical patterns. The chapter explores relevant literature on health assessment over the lifespan to consider the more traditional ways that patterns of temporal health have been captured. Longitudinal studies offer the greatest promise for obtaining reasonably conclusive answers to questions regarding temporal health processes. The method by which a trajectory approach could be applied to questions of rural aging would begin by locating appropriate longitudinal data sets and examining basic comparisons of health trajectories among rural and non-rural populations. Health Care Financing Administration records and state Medicaid records will be the primary sources of information about use of hospitals and long-term care facilities.