Successful ageing: A historical overview and critical analysis of a successful concept

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Morten Hillgaard Bülow, Thomas Söderqvist

Since the late 1980s, the concept of ‘ successful ageing’ has set the frame for discourse about contemporary ageing research. Through an analysis of the reception to John W. Rowe and Robert L. Kahn's launch of the concept of ‘ successful ageing’ in 1987, this article maps out the important themes and discussions that have emerged from the interdisciplinary field of ageing research. These include an emphasis on interdisciplinarity; the interaction between biology, psycho-social contexts and lifestyle choices; the experiences of elderly people; life-course perspectives; optimisation and prevention strategies; and the importance of individual, societal and scientific conceptualisations and understandings of ageing. By presenting an account of the recent historical uses, interpretations and critiques of the concept, the article unfolds the practical and normative complexities of ‘ successful ageing’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Volume31
Pages (from-to)139–149
Number of pages11
ISSN0890-4065
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2014

ID: 124835389