Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Productive Aging - Definition, Some Controversy, Variables That Influence Productive Aging, Policy Considerations

Productive Aging - Definition

age activity value activities caro

In 1993, Caro, Bass, and Chen defined productive aging to be "any activity by an older individual that contributes to producing goods or services, or develops the capacity to produce them (whether or not the individual is paid for this activity)." Research by Caro and Bass (1995), conducted under the auspices of The Commonwealth Fund's Americans Over 55 at Work Program, sought to measure the extent of participation by Americans age fifty-five and older who were engaged in work, caregiving of grandchildren or great-grandchildren, caring for sick friends or relatives, and educational training associated with career preparation. Kevin A. Coleman (1995) developed a conservative economic estimate of the cost to replace the value of these specific contributions of older people—it was well over $121 billion dollars.

Alternatives to the above definition have also been proposed. For the most part, the literature reveals consistent agreement among authors that the term include activities that can be measured and that have some direct or indirect economic value. However, there is some disagreement regarding the breadth of activities to be included in the definition. For example, Herzog et al. (1989) includes doing housework as part of the definition. Housework is also included under the rubric of productive aging in John W. Rowe and Robert L. Kahn's study on successful aging (1998).

Productive Aging - Some Controversy [next]

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