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Successful Aging

Definitions, Causes, Avoiding Disease And Disability, Maintaining Mental Function, Engagement With Life, Heredity

One might think that successful aging would be a noncontroversial topic, one that everyone would agree is a good goal to pursue. However, considerable controversy has arisen over its definition, causes, and consequences. This controversy has been fueled in part by the fact that as more and more people enter the third age (over age sixty), concern has begun to shift from medically prolonging life to ensuring that a prolonged life is worth living. The concept itself is rather paradoxical: it combines a positive term (successful) with one usually perceived as negative (aging). How can one be ‘‘successful’’ at a process which usually means decrement and disability? The answer lies in the definitions.

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Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 4