The thesis of the article is a critique of the use of the term ‘successful aging’ by examining the political and social contexts underlining the creation and widespread use of the term.
The literature reviewed is primarily secondary literature. Specifically, the author adopts a systematic literature review in trying to prove the thesis statement. After reading the literature reviewed in the article, I noted that most of the current definitions of successful aging look at the health of the aged. Therefore, the literature supports the argument that the definition of the concept is narrow and needs to be broadened to include, among other things, the political and social contexts of the term.
In this research, secondary data was utilized. Secondary sources refer to data which has been already collected and recorded by other researchers. Some of the secondary data I identified in the article include books, journals, and newspaper articles.
The authors found out that there is a need for researchers to understand the political motivations and the consequences when adopting and using the term ‘successful aging.' They also found out that there is a need to expand the conceptualization of the term ‘successful aging.' The results are presented in the form of a research critique.
I believe the authors provided a persuasive argument. First of all, the authors provided a historical perspective of ‘successful aging’ and how several authors and researchers have differently defined the concept. In the literature reviewed, the author reported many definitions of ‘successful aging.' Some of the definitions, as highlighted in the article, are discriminatory to the older people and hence the need to have an expanded understanding of the term.
After reading the article, I was able to have a proper understanding of the historical background of the term ‘successful aging’ and how different researchers have conceptualized and operationalized it. I also discovered that the use of the term had had negative implications on the old (e.g. discrimination) in some instances. Moreover, I was able to learn the various theories advanced in critiquing the concept of ‘successful aging.' Some of the theories include continuity theory and model minority theory.
I gained new knowledge after reading the article. For instance, I found out that apart from common indicators (e.g. lack of disease and good health, physical and mental health), other indicators of successful aging include social activity and high level of engagement with others.
The article has important implications for further research. First, future researchers should investigate how the political and social definition of successful aging impacts on the policy decisions and programs of government and non-governmental organizations. Secondly, future studies should examine how other countries define the concept of aging.
The most important issues in aging are the health and social activity of the old. The two are essential factors that determine the productivity of the senior citizens. The video ‘Int'l Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers’ clearly illustrates that senior citizens are not necessarily dependants, but they can also be the most productive members of the society. For instance, the grandmothers have been at the forefront in environmental, educational, women empowerment, and youth matters.
The article emphasizes that good health promotes productivity thus creating wealth for nations. As a future social scientist, the idea of promoting good health in the elderly is of great significance to me.
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