Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Factors Influencing the Successful Aging of Older Korean Adults

Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Factors Influencing the Successful Aging of Older Korean Adults

Article excerpt

The recent rapid-aging-population phenomenon has extended the life expectancy of older adults and extended the amount of time spent in older age. As a result, this has brought a huge increase in the older adult population. However, the number of older adults with a qualitatively higher economic and educational status compared to the older adults in years past has also increased (Sok & Yun, 2011). Accordingly, the previous perspective where older adults were considered subjects experiencing social and psychological decline, withdrawal problems, and concurrent stresses or considered passive recipients of social welfare has been changing into the perspective where they are considered the subjects of an active life, showing an increasing interest in preparing themselves for successful aging (Parker, Bellis, Bishop, & Harper, 2002). Accordingly, when the rapid-aging-population phenomenon first began to emerge, many scholars warned of such an occurrence and mainly reported on issues focusing on the aging crisis and the financial burden of the country brought about by this (Antonucci, 2000; Lin, Yen, & Fetzer, 2008). This trend, however, has been undergoing a change; increasingly focusing on the factors influencing successful aging in order to obtain a healthy and happy life during older age in an aging society (Lee, 2008; Paskulin, Vianna, & Molzahn, 2009).

Successful aging is a concept in which an older adult and the people around them can reach a state of utmost physical, mental, and social satisfaction by demonstrating a positive potential in each of these areas (Rowe & Khan, 1987). To develop independence and productivity during older age, older adults should age successfully. For successful aging, one's physical, mental, and social functions should be maintained appropriately (Garfein & Herzog, 1995), and one should be without any illness or disability (Rowe & Kahn, 1998). In other words, successful aging can be achieved when the mental aspects such as self-esteem (positively accepting and recognizing oneself as a valuable person; Cho, 2002), selfachievement, and self-efficacy (self-confidence; Kim & Shin, 2005; Rowe & Kahn, 1998); the social aspects such as familial and social relationships (Rowe & Kahn, 1998; Strawbridge, Cohen, Shema, & Kaplan, 1996); the physical aspects of physiological; and life satisfaction have been achieved (Wong, 1989).

Preliminary studies associated with successful aging have been conducted, such as a study on the perception of successful aging (Collings, 2001; Paik & Choi, 2005; Sung & Yoo, 2002), a validation study on the theory of successful aging (Crowther, Parker, Achebau, Larimore, & Koenig, 2002; Strawbridge, Wallhagen, & Cohen, 2002; Sung & Cho, 2006), a study on what older people regard as the requirements for successful aging (Kang, 2003b; Kim, Shin, Kang, & Kang, 2004; Park & Yi, 2002; Sung & Yoo, 2002), and a study on the measurement of successful aging (Kim & Shin, 2005). Few studies have been conducted, however, on the influencing factors or conditions/ requirements for achieving successful aging (Kang, 2003b). Figure 1 shows the conceptual model employed by this present study. The factors influencing the degree of successful aging among older Korean adults used in this study were selected based on the findings from previous studies. These factors affect successful aging as independent factors among older Korean adults.

In this study, confirming the factors influencing the degree of successful aging among older Korean adults will improve the nursing profession's understanding of variances related to the health and successful aging of older people with a background in Korean culture. Currently all over the world, as the population of older people is increasing, international nurses can use the information from this study as an important reference.

Therefore, in this study, the factors influencing the degree of successful aging were confirmed based on the factors that have been partially identified in the aforementioned preliminary studies and the relationships among the factors were investigated to present basic data for an older adult intervention study. …

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