Comparisons of the utility of researcher-defined and participant-defined successful ageing

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Abstract

Aim:

To investigate the impact of different approaches for measuring ‘successful ageing’, four alternative researcher and participant definitions were compared, including a novel measure informed by cluster analysis. Rates of successful ageing were explored, as were their relative associations with age and measures of successful adaptation, to assess construct validity.

Method:

Participants, aged over 65, were recruited from community-based organisations. Questionnaires (assessing successful ageing, lifestyle activities and selective optimisation with compensation) were completed by 317 individuals.

Results:

Successful ageing ranged from 11.4% to 87.4%, with higher rates evident from participant definitions. Though dependent upon the definition, successful agers were typically younger, reported greater engagement with lifestyle activities and more frequent optimisation.

Conclusions:

While the current study suggested an improved classification algorithm using a common research definition, future research should explore how subjective and objective aspects of successful ageing may be combined to derive a measure relevant to policy and practice.

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