Successful Aging Entails

Successful Aging Entails 

Successful aging entails avoiding physical diseases and disability through physical exercise and disease prevention. In addition, successful aging involves maintaining high physical function and cognitive function by adapting to the cognitive changes. Also, successful aging involves engaging continuously in social and productive activities. Therefore, one age successfully if he or she is healthy, highly functioning and socially involved. There are different kinds of aging. That is physical aging, psychological, personality, relationship and work leisure and retirement.   Physical changes interact with psychological processes and social context.  Biological changes affect behavior which shows the changes on a person.  Changes that happen in the body depict social factors like class, gender and race. The social changes affect how individuals interpret changes in physical functioning. Physical aging entails changes in the body, brain and sensory systems.

The skin is the most organs prone to changes related to aging.  Changes on the skin are seen as early as early 20s, but are most noticeable in mid 30as and late 30s.  The skin begins to wrinkle  and dropping. In addition, the skin changes color and looses resilience.  The skin becomes more translucent as a person ages, and one starts to see the bones and veins mostly on the hands.  The hair also changes color as the number of colored hair decreases, and the number of that is not colored increased.  Graying of the hair is the most noticeable change.  Additionally, the body changes as people age as the height reduces. People get shorter as they age according to a cross sectional and longitudinal researches.  This is common in women.  Also, mobility changes as the people experience a gradual reduction in walking speed due to reduction in muscle mass. Moreover, the cardiovascular system changes as people age especially the heart and arteries.

The aging of the left ventricle affects circulation of oxygenated blood in the body. Other systems that age include digestive, respiratory and urinary. As, a result, exercising ensures people are physically fit as they age. Further, cognitive functions are affected as one ages. Cognitive changes include loss of memory and ability to solve problems. People find it hard to solve problems and understand themselves as they age and this affects their functioning.  They also find it hard to process information, and this affects them negatively. In order to age successful, people should adapt to the changes instead of denying them. They should recognize that they are undergoing cognitive changes and maximize their performance so as to preserve their ability and maintain the abilities to their potential.  Lastly, close relationships are vital for adult life. Having close relationships is significant for the aging population as it ensures they get social support and this enhances their wellbeing. Most people do not get social support as they age and this causes depression, anxiety and stress and affects their health (Whitbourne &Whitbourne, 2010). The interviewee is 50 years old, and he is an example of what I consider successful aging.

The interviewee has experienced a wide range of changes for the past 50 years including physical, physiological, cognitive etc.  The changes have impacted his life in different ways.  The interviewee has experienced cognitive changes that have affected his cognitive functioning.  The interview faces challenges when processing information due to memory loss. He finds it difficult to carry out daily tasks that involve processing of information.  The interviewee has lost some problem solving skills and gained others. He has become slower and has memory lapse that affects problem solving. However, he solves a problem faster if he is familiar with it.  Many elderly people suffer from attention disorders as they lose of attention as they age. The interviewee does not have attention problems as he focuses on tasks. Scholars claim that the great experience of old people improves their problem solving performance and self efficacy  and hence are able to solve some problems  effectively than young people.

In this case, the interviewee solves some problems better than his young children as he had acquired problem solving skills as he aged. However, the interviewee does not deny the cognitive changes.  The interviewee engages in physical activity to improve his brain function and cognitive functions (Whitbourne &Whitbourne, 2010).  The interviewee also shows a vast range of physical chances in his body. His skin, hair, and mobility show aging.  He has lost most of his colored hair and has grey hair. Also, his skin has lost its elasticity and color due to aging.  His walking speed has reduced considerably as he walks slowly.  He attributes his change to walking style to loss of muscles and body weaknesses. Further, his cardiovascular and urinary systems have also aged.  Adults are more prone to cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal diseases and others diseases than children because of their age.  Age is considered a risk factor for heart diseases as the arteries and the heart weaken and age as a person ages.

The interview is aware of the fact that aging is a risk factor for infections and engages in physical activity to reduce the risk of having such diseases.   In addition to that, the interviewee exercises often by walking and jogging to improve his muscle strength and mass and hence prevent musculoskeletal diseases.  The interview is a good example of successful aging as he has managed to remain healthy and prevent disability through physical activity. The interviewee does not have any chronic disease or musculoskeletal disease (Whitbourne &Whitbourne, 2010). The possible selves theory is vital in understanding, aging and a person’s view of self affects his life, choices and achievement of goals. The possible self affects people’s ability to achieve goals in life.  The possible self related to health determines a person’s health in the future.  The possible self motivates people to remain healthy and thus they engage in activities that promote their wellbeing.  For example, the interviewee possible self has enabled him to remain healthy.  The interviewee is determined to remain healthy through physical exercise. He believes that the possible self can have a negative or positive impact on his life and strives to maintain a positive possible self (Whitbourne &Whitbourne, 2010).

Social support plays an essential role in his life and health. The interview recognizes the importance of having positive relationships with his spouse, children and other people in the society.  He has maintained close relationships with his children, spouse and friends for many years, and this has improved his health.  He gets social support from the family and friends and does not feel isolated.   This has helped him to overcome stress, anxiety and depression.  The interviewee focuses on emotional functions of relationships instead of informational functions of relationships.  He spends time with his relatives and colleagues and does not seek new friends.  The interviewee behavior can be explained by socioemotional selectivity theory.  People focus more on the emotional part of relationships as they grow older instead of the informational part.  People become more sensitive to the inevitable ending of their live and realize that time is running out. Hence, they shift their attention to family members and friends instead of establishing new relationships.   The need to maximize the emotional reward compels elderly people to spend time with friends and family members instead of strangers.   The interviewee does not show any interest in meeting other people outside and broadening his relationships. Therefore, the interviewee is aging successfully as he has maintained high cognitive, physical and social function (Whitbourne &Whitbourne, 2010).


Whitbourne, S.B., &Whitbourne, S.K. (2010). Adult development and aging(4th ed). John Wiley & Sons

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