What does successful aging mean for you?

Aging is a complex phenomenon, shaped by culture, societal expectations, as well as socio-demographic characteristics and individual experiences. The term “successful aging” has been used to describe the quality of aging, which is influenced by a number of social and environmental factors as well as one’s physical health. Many older adults define successful aging differently, but there are 12 themes that emerged from a recent systematic review. For each of the themes below, we have included links to some of our most popular resources on the topic. We encourage you to explore them further and think about what aging successfully means to you.

1.     Maintaining meaningful relationships and social interactions with family and friends, as well as engaging in their community and having access to resources and support.

·      Blog Post: Maintaining social connections while benefiting from physical activity

2. Maintaining and cultivating a positive attitude
 for emotional well-being.

·      Blog Post: Looking after your mental well-being

·      Blog Post: Your mental health is an important part of healthy aging

3. Being healthy 
to stay independent for as long as possible.

·      Blog Post: Mental well-being: What’s ‘food’ got to do with it?

·      Blog Post: How healthy eating can look different for everyone

4. Having a financial safety net
 to meet basic needs, cover living costs, have access to health insurance and get the care they need.

·      Blog Post: A nest egg for our old days: Helping older adults manage their finances

5. Accepting (and adapting to) physical changes
 associated with aging and being open to using assistive devices or gradually adjusting activities.

·      Blog Post: How Technology Can Help Our Mental Well-Being

·      Blog Post: How assistive devices promote healthy aging and independent living

6. Being engaged
 to stay active (for example, volunteering or pursuing hobbies).

·      Blog Post: How civic engagement and participation can benefit older adults

·      Blog Post: Addressing the social needs of older adults: A contributing factor to their health and well-being

7. Developing spirituality to improve well-being
, giving meaning to life and preparing for the later stage of life with serenity.

·      Evidence Summary: Demographic, physical, psychological, spiritual, and socio-cultural factors are associated with disaster resilience among older adults

8. Having support from social policies favorable to aging
, such as access to quality health care, free or affordable, access to work, government pensions, access to meals or housekeeping services.

·      Blog Post: Fiscal measures to support older adults and reduce poverty

9. Being autonomous and independent 
to maintain some freedom and continue to perform daily tasks without assistance, as well as to take care of yourself without depending on others.

·      Blog Post: Helping older adults stay behind the wheel safely

·      Blog Post: How assistive devices promote healthy aging and independent living

10. Maintaining good cognitive health 
to stay alert, reduce memory loss, maintain mental activity and an active mind.

·      Blog Post: Cognitive impairment and dementia: Using cognitive training to cope with the accompanying depression

·      Blog Post: Boost your brain health with exercise targeting both your body and your brain

11. Staying physically active
 to delay old age or simply to be able to maintain a social or professional life.

·      Blog Post: Join a walking group to improve your health!

·      Blog Post: “You’ve got a friend in me”: Can your peers help you keep active?

12. Having a "good" death
, ideally in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by family members.

·      Blog Post: End-of-life doulas: Providing care and comfort to the dying and their loved ones

·      Blog Post: Transitioning to end of life care: Communication is key



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DISCLAIMER: Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of these blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with current social distancing recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website

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