Successful Aging through the Life Span: Intergenerational Issues in Health

By May L. Wykle; Peter J. Whitehouse et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Successful Aging in the Face
of Chronic Disease

Eva Kahana

Cathie King

Boaz Kahana

Heather Menne

Noah J. Webster

Amy Dan

Kyle Kercher

Alexandra Bohne

Carolyn Lechner

Successful aging represents a positive development in gerontological theorizing, for it has shifted the focus away from viewing older adults as a dependent group whose problems tax the resources of society to considering the contributing potential of older adults. This shift has been labeled as a move from dependency to autonomy or agency-based models of aging (Midlarsky & Kahana, 1994). The emphasis on successful aging or aging well helps dispel negative stereotypes and removes some of the stigma associated with being an aged person. Models of successful aging have sought to understand the resources and behaviors that facilitate aging well and typically point to the maintenance of healthy lifestyles as deterrents to chronic illness and attendant impairments (Rowe & Kahn, 1998). Behind the optimistic message of these models of successful aging, however, there lies an exclusionary orientation, whereby chronically ill and disabled older adults do not have a place at the table of successful aging. This chapter articulates a model of successful aging we developed (Kahana & Kahana, 1996; 2003; Kahana, Kahana, &: Kercher, in press), which allows for

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