Successful Ageing in the Oldest-Old: Living longer. Living well?

A mixed-methods systematic review of the perspectives of older people on successful ageing

by Andreea Badache

Throughout the world, the fertility rate is declining while the life expectancy is rising which leads to an increase of the population of older people. Globally, the number of people 80 years of age and above, termed as the oldest-old, is the fastest growing segment of the population and it is projected to triple by 2050.

Due to the increase of the ageing population, new concepts with the attempt to define ageing processes throughout the lifespan have emerged. One of the most studied and discussed concept among scientists, clinicians, researchers, academicians, and philosophers is the concept of “successful ageing,”(SA) which up to date has no standard definition or criteria for assessment. Previous studies have defined successful ageing as the absence of disease and disability or maintaining positive functioning as long as possible, not taking into consideration the individual heterogeneity, the multi-dimensionality of the concept or the perspectives of the older adults themselves. Only a few studies have focused on the older people’s views of the concept.

The existing models of SA does not seem to include older adults who suffer from chronic diseases or live with disabilities but still enjoy and are satisfied with their lives, people who might consider themselves as aging successfully. In our first study we will therefore synthesize the available published articles and include the views of older adults regarding successful aging in order to supplement the already existing theories with the perspective from older people and subsequently redefine the concept of successful ageing.

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