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Determinants of Successful Aging: Developing an Integrated Research Agenda for the 21st Century |

The Contribution of Geriatric Health Services Research to Successful Aging

Robert L. Kane, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Robert L. Kane, MD, Division of Health and Services Research and Policy, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, D351 Mayo (MMC 197), 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455; e-mail, kanex001@umn.edu.

Ann Intern Med. 2003;139(5_Part_2):460-462. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-139-5_Part_2-200309021-00016
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Although no one has officially defined successful aging (1), the two most widely used descriptions come from large studies. Rowe and Kahn (2) include three components for successful aging: avoiding disease, engagement with life, and maintaining high physical and cognitive function. Although the emphasis is on preventive behaviors, several of these components allow a role for health care. Vaillant (3) defines successful aging as including healthy aging, retirement, play and creativity, and “generativity”; the latter refers to a continual sense of intellectual and social development. Healthy aging is measured by evaluating objective physical disability, subjective physical health, length of undisabled life, objective mental health, objective social support, and subjective life satisfaction.

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