Positive aging

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    Positive aging incorporates concepts and research from developmental psychology, gerontology, and positive psychology to understand and improve the health and broader well-being of older adults (usually defined as those over 65 years old). It is the ability to adapt positively to and make the best of the experiences of aging, including maintaining well-being in the face of age-related events and transitions (such as multiple chronic illnesses and disabilities, sensory decline, caregiving duties, and bereavement). The term positive aging developed out of dissatisfaction with the term successful aging, which (at least initially) required the absence of both chronic illnesses and cognitive decline. Many older adults describe themselves as aging successfully despite having chronic illnesses and functional decline, and their own definitions of successful aging include not merely health, but also activity, happiness and contentment, relationships, and independence.

    Positive aging thus involves keeping as healthy as possible, while maintaining positive attitudes, and continuing to engage socially and meaningfully in life despite the challenges of aging. As an extension of positive psychology, positive aging emphasizes strengths acquired throughout the life span which help older adults optimize their well-being while dealing with the transitions occurring in later life (Hill and Smith 2015).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of behavioral medicine
    EditorsMarc D. Gellman
    Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
    PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
    Number of pages3
    ISBN (Electronic)9783030399030
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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