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Editorials |

Assessing the Success of Successful Aging

Thomas A. Glass, PhD
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From Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health; Baltimore, MD 21205.


Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Thomas A. Glass, PhD, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205; e-mail, tglass@jhsph.edu.


Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(5_Part_1):382-383. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-139-5_Part_1-200309020-00015
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The final stage of life ends, for each of us, with death. Put differently, in the end, our bodies are certain to fail. This, like taxes, is among the very few certainties of life. Despite this certainty, we increasingly (and exclusively) apply the yardstick of “success” to life's final chapter. No one speaks of “successful infancy” or the harder to imagine “successful adolescence.” There is something unexpected, almost oxymoronic, about the notion of successful aging. Perhaps it is this very contradictory quality that attracts us, for it allows us to envision an old age that is positive, productive, and hopeful.

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aging

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