Jill Chonody, an associate professor and Master of Social Work coordinator for the School of Social Work, is celebrating the publication of an article she co-authored, “How Do Older Adults Define Successful Aging? A Scoping Review,” to The International Journal of Aging and Human Development.
The theory of successful aging has become a pillar of health promotion and suggests that certain activities and behaviors should be present in older people who are aging “successfully.” Interestingly, much of this theory is not inclusive of the perspectives of older people. Chonody and her co-author sought to understand older adults’ points of view on aging as compared to the current theory by conducting a scoping review of the literature. Using a five-step process, the researchers explored and synthesized research that does exist regarding older adults’ perspectives on what successful aging means.
From this review, 12 main themes emerged, ranging from older people’s importance of social relationships and interactions to having a “good death.” The results indicated that older adults do not define successful aging as it is found in the theory.
“We found that elevating the narratives of older people can change theory development and future research, which in turn supports self-determination as people age,” said Chonody. “Promoting the perspectives of older adults should take center stage in social and health care programming and policy making.”
Learn more about “How Do Older Adults Define Successful Aging? A Scoping Review.”
– By Taylor Music