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Assumptions of successful aging: analysis of elder adults experiences

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Usually old age associates with negative consequences. This life period is defined as a period of loss, poverty, illness, loneliness, loss of autonomy, dependence on others. Elder adults face negative attitude, usually they are considered a burden to society. Old age is seen as the most difficult period of life. But is it really so dreary? There question is raised: what assumptions affect successful aging? The aim of this paper is to reveal assumptions of successful aging from elder adults’ perspective. The study was based on constructivistic ontology and subjectivistic-interpretative epistemology ideas. Investigator leads on belief that social reality is a social construct. Old age and successful aging are also social constructs. Social reality is constructed through language. So experiences and understandings are produced during interview between investigator and informant. Reality and social world could be understood by investigating these constructs. In order to reveal assumptions of successful aging from elder adults’ perspective a qualitative analysis was carried out. Phenomenographic strategy was set in order to disclose what understanding informants have about successful aging and to emphasize different experiences of this phenomenon. Seven 68-74-yearold elder adults (5 women and 2 men) were invited to talk by using semistructured interviews. The outcomes of the research were analyzed according to L. O. Dahlgren and M. Fallsberg’s phenomenographic analysis steps. The analysis of the date has revealed that successful aging depends on material well-being, good health, social relations with family members, grandchildren, friends and other persons who are important to elder adult. Involvement
in meaningful activities was revealed as assumption of successful aging as well. All these assumptions which have been disclosed are interdependent and affect each other.

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