Share on PinterestResearchers recently observed older adults in Canada and identified a unique set of characteristics among people who age optimally. Sonja Lekovic/Stocksy
- A recent study challenged prior definitions of what healthy or successful aging can look like by adopting a broader perspective.
- To do so, the researchers observed older adults in Canada and identified a unique set of attributes among people who age optimally.
- The researchers also assessed how well people age despite any chronic illnesses that may develop as they grow older.
Previous research, oftentimes, has used a narrow definition of what healthy aging can look like.
A recent study from researchers at the University of Toronto has provided new insights into healthy aging by observing two distinct demographics in Canada: immigrant and Canadian-born older adults.
The study’s authors identified several characteristics associated with positive experiences later in life that may contribute to healthy aging, thus revising the definition of what it means to age successfully.
The findings were recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research.
Mabel Ho, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and the Institute of Life Course and Aging, and lead author of the study, told Medical News Today:
“Previous definitions of successful aging were very narrow and required that older adults were free of all diseases — very few people met that definition.”
Ho explained that aging successfully means that individuals are not limited in their ability to accomplish everyday activities, regardless of whether they have a chronic illness.
Ho’s study defined healthy aging as having the following attributes:
“I think most people would agree that defining successful aging based on mental and physical functioning, social engagement, mental health, and well-being makes intuitive sense. This is certainly what I will strive for as I age.”
– Mabel Ho, doctoral candidate and lead study author
Ritu Sadana, DSc, unit head of aging and health at The World Health Organization (WHO), not involved in the study, agreed that traditional successful aging standards have been limited in scope.
“[The] WHO doesn’t define healthy aging as being …….