Join Our Conversation

We want to start a conversation with anyone who is interested in healthy and successful aging. We are nine gerontologists, each with over 30 years of experience on aging research. We want to share our thoughts on healthy and successful aging. We want your critique, comments, feedback on our ideas, and we want you to share your ideas with us.

What is Successful Aging?

We all want to be successful, and no one wants to be not successful in our aging. But what does successful aging mean? Is healthy aging the same as successful aging? If we have some health problems, does it mean we are not aging successfully? How does one know one is aging successfully? How is aging (or successful aging) different for different people in different cultures or environments? How do we measure successful aging? What have we found in our quest for knowledge for successful aging? What are the necessary and sufficient conditions to attain successful aging? And finally, based on what we know, what can public health do to help older adults age successfully?

These are some questions most people would ask when confronted with the idea of successful aging. Healthy and successful aging is possibly the most important research outcome and policy decision related to aging and the aging population. In the last 30 years, scientists have made significant advances in the definitions, approaches, and research methodologies in answering some of the questions. Unfortunately, the implementation of findings to applications is still lagging behind. We propose the time is ripe to review what we know and don’t know, controversies, disagreements, and different ways in viewing and studying successful aging. Out of these reviews, we hope to recommend some research directions that may be fruitful to the next generations of research and application.

Who Are We?

We are a core of nine gerontologists, each with more than 30 years of experience in aging research and application. We intentionally keep the number of core members small in order to initiate this conversation. We are funded by the National Institute on Aging to conduct this project. More information about the team can be found here.

Leonard W. Poon, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Psychology
Chris Fry, Ph.D., Anthropology
Eva Kahana, Ph.D., Sociology
Boaz Kahana, Ph.D., Psychology
Peter Martin, Ph.D., Psychology and Human Development
Rachel Pruchno, Ph.D., Psychology
Brad Willcox, M.D., M.S., Medicine, Geriatrics
D. Craig Willcox, Ph.D., Anthropology
May Wykle, Ph.D., R.N., Nursing

How To Proceed

  1. We have written five concept papers about various aspects of healthy and successful aging. These concept papers can be considered drafts as we want to add our peers’ perspectives on consensus, disagreement, or extension to include other ideas or areas.
  2. These papers are posted on this blog and our Facebook page. We welcome your comments, critique, and feedback on these papers in the comment areas of either websites so that we can have an open discussion. These conversations will serve to extend the four papers. You are encouraged to append papers or references to support or bolster contents and ideas, and we will be careful to give proper credit for your ideas.
  3. After we have gathered sufficient comments, we have planned a small workshop to discuss all of the ideas with the hope of defining and consolidating the current state-of-the-art on healthy and successful aging.
  4. We plan to have a webcast of this working conference, and/or produce an edited video documentary of the event.

The Next Steps

  • Summer, 2012: Consolidation of peer input on the five papers.
  • August 2012: Conduct first workshop to discuss current state-of-the-art. Current plan is to webcast the discussion and/or post and distribute edited video of the discussion.
  • November 2012: A symposium will be held at the Gerontological Society of America meeting in San Diego to discuss this project.
  • December 2012: Solicitation for ideas for next steps of research and application on facebook and blog.
  • April, 2013: Conduct second workshop on new directions.
  • November 2013: Conduct a mentoring workshop at the 2013 meeting of the Gerontological Society of America for emerging scholars.
  • December 2013: Publication of the discussion and consensus on successful aging.

Join the Email Listserv

News & updates about the Healthy & Successful Aging project will occassionaly be sent via email. Visit here to subscribe/unsubscribe to the listserv or get automatic notifications by choosing to “follow the blog” on the right sidebar.


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