Ageism is a prevalent form of prejudice and discrimination that can lead to negative attitudes, comments, and assumptions toward older individuals. These ageist stereotypes can have serious consequences for the well-being and quality of life of older people. To combat ageism, we need to recognize its harmful effects and promote positive attitudes and behaviors towards aging and older adults. This is where we learn and practice ‘positive aging’.
Positive aging is a concept that emphasises the importance of growing older in a way that promotes well-being, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Its primary focus is developing a positive attitude towards aging and finding ways to maintain physical and mental health, social connections, and a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Positive aging is not about denying the challenges of aging, but rather shedding light on the opportunities and possibilities that aging can bring.
The pioneers of the concept of positive aging, Dr. Robert Atchley, Dr. Laura Carstensen, and Dr. John Rowe, have emphasized the need for a public health approach to aging that promotes healthy lifestyles and the prevention of illnesses and conditions that can negatively impact the lives of older people. In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it also emphasises staying socially engaged, pursuing meaningful activities and interests, and developing a positive attitude towards aging. By educating ourselves and promoting positive aging, we can help older individuals age with dignity, purpose, and continued vitality.
We all should be educated about positive aging. While aging is often associated with physical decline and the development of chronic health conditions, it is important to recognize that growing older and wiser is a fun and rewarding experience. By embracing positive aging, we can combat ageism and make a positive difference in the lives of older individuals.
Check out this video from Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health) which talks about Implementing the Healthy Ageing Strategy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Yba2j78fJI