Successful. That sounds nice right? But what does successful ageing mean exactly?
Well there isn’t just one correct final answer. In fact, different scientists and researchers have come up with different theories over the past 50 years or so to define what successful ageing is.
This theory was suggested by Atchley in 1972. He defined successful ageing as people who were able to carry on with their relationships, and the ways they lived as they continued to grow older.
Rowe and Kahn Model: These two scientists defined “successful ageing” in the 1987. They believed it included 3 things.
- Not having any illnesses or disabilities
- Being able to function normally. This includes things such as moving, thinking, speaking and memorizing
- Being socially engaged: The person carries on with living life normally. This could include hanging out with friends and doing his or her hobbies. Basically just carrying out what the person would normally do.
But there is a problem with this model. Being completely without disease or disabilities as adult's age is almost impossible and many older adults still feel like they have successfully aged even with disabilities.
These theories define successful ageing as mainly how well the person’s mental state is.
Using these theories, successful ageing is measured through factors such as:
1. Happiness level
2. How the person viewed themselves
3. The person’s mood
4. The person’s view on life.
Therefore, part of successful ageing includes feeling like they are loved by family and friends, being able to do new things and knowing that they have accomplished things they’ve wanted to do in their lives.
Views of the Elderly
Some researchers asked the elderly themselves what they thought successful ageing looked like.
They included things such as having good health and staying active. Some also mentioned other things that weren’t in the previous theories such as having enough money to support themselves and feeling like they’re still contributing to the life around them.
There is no final correct answer. Different people have different opinions on successful ageing and everyone should respect each view.