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What is the definition of successful aging?

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Discussion thread: Services for Elders
Julian Pang
29 July 2021
What is the definition of successful aging?

What is the definition of successful aging?

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Olivia
29 July 2021

Hope it will be helpful.

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Julian Pang
29 July 2021

I appreciate your quick and helpful answer.

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Olivia
29 July 2021

Numerous studies have attempted to define successful aging; unfortunately, outside the nonexistence of disability, there still does not appear to be a consensus on the optimum definition of successful aging or the best way to determine if someone is aging successfully. Cicero (106-43 B.C.) a Roman philosopher and statesman was believed to be the first individual to assert the notion of aging successfully through his essay De Senectute (44 B.C.). In Cicero’s work, he was able to exemplify that as one grows older, they do not necessarily decline and can live their life productively and positively. One of the most commonly cited models of successful aging was proposed by Rowe and Kahn (1987); they suggested a three-tier model that integrated freedom from disability along with high cognitive, physical, and social functioning. In their view, successful aging is the opposite end of the continuum from pathological aging, which is characterized by disease and debility. Other definitions suggest that successful aging reflects the degree to which older adults adapt to age-related changes, view themselves as aging successfully, or avoid morbidity until the latest time point before death (Depp & Jeste, 2006). These complementary theories view successful aging from the perspective of life-span development and emphasize psychological, social, and behavioral processes that are involved in adapting to age-related declines, disabilities, and losses. These theories also highlight the relevance of maintaining independence in everyday functioning despite physical limitations.

Rowe, J. W., & Kahn, R. L. (1987). Human aging: usual and successful. Science, 237(4811), 143-149.
Depp, C. A., & Jeste, D. V. (2006). Definitions and predictors of successful aging: a comprehensive review of larger quantitative studies. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 14(1), 6-20.

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