Contemporary Issues in Gerontology: Promoting Positive Ageing

By V. Minichiello; I. Coulson | Go to book overview

10

Vehicles to promote positive ageing:
Natural therapies, counselling, music
and the creative arts

Judy Harris

Terrence Hays

Jeffrey Kottler

Victor Minichiello

Ina Olohan

Peter Wright

The new millennium sees people living longer than ever. Demographers tell us that in the developed countries today's young adults can expect to live past 80. Biologists inform us that increasingly older people will live healthier lives. They predict a 'compression of morbidity' that will result in older persons experiencing long, healthy and active lives with short periods of severe disability or debilitating illness before death (Fries 1984). The buzz-word in the gerontology field these days is 'active life expectancy'. Kart (1997, p. 105) defines this concept as 'the period of life free of limitations in activities of daily living'. People are asking the question, 'How many years can we expect to enjoy?'

Not surprisingly, the emphasis of many health programs and policies, and increasingly more so in the future, is on longevity and quality of life. Scientists argue that certain lifestyle habits improve the quality of life and may prolong life (National Institute of Aging 1993). A study on centenarians found them to have a positive outlook and sense of optimism (Poon et al 1992), highlighting the importance of mind and body connections. As Tirrito (2003, p. 83) notes, health is linked to life satisfaction and well-being and 'people who have good health are happier, have a better sense of well-being, have friends, and tend to be satisfied with life'. This message is increasingly being appreciated by consumers. More

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