What Is Successful Aging?

An old couple.
An old couple. | Source

Successful aging is a concept authored by John Rowe and Robert Kahn. It is defined as “maintaining one’s physical health, mental abilities, social competence, and overall satisfaction with life as one gets older” (Wood, Wood & Boyd 265).

3 Components To Successful Aging

Moreover, there are three components to successful aging: good physical health, retention of cognitive abilities, and continuing engagement in social and productive activities. 

The most important component to successful aging is having an optimistic outlook on life. I hope to maintain good mental and physical health well into my senior years.

Ultimately We Have No Control

Although, I do not truly have control over what will happen to me as I age, I can only try to stay healthy and active.

My grandmother suffered from dementia in her late 70’s.

Her personality for the most part remained the same but her memory and intellect were moderately impaired. Her mind would seem to drift in and out from time to time.

Sometimes she would recognize who I was and at other times she would not.

Even when she did recognize who I was, our conversation would be hard to follow. It was a very sad time for my family and especially my grandfather.


  • Wood, S., Wood, E., Boyd, D. (2002). Mastering the World of Psychology. New Jersey: Pearson.

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Comments 1 comment

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I agree with the definition of successful aging that you've written in this hub. It is defined as “maintaining one’s physical health, mental abilities, social competence, and overall satisfaction with life as one gets older” (Wood, Wood & Boyd 265).

One can and should, strive to age successfully by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and remaining socially active and productive, but as you pointed out, we ultimately have no control over how we age. We can minimize or delay our chances of getting diseases but if we live long and die of natural causes, sooner or later we will experience disease and decreased function.

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