, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 261-278
Date: 31 May 2011

A New Multidimensional Model of Successful Aging: Perceptions of Japanese American Older Adults

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Abstract

This study examined the concept of successful aging using an ethnographic grounded-theory approach. Seventy-seven Japanese American older adults participated in focus groups. Participants perceived successful aging as optimal functioning in the following areas: Physical health, psychological health, cognitive functioning, socialization, spirituality, and financial security. The content of each dimension represents both culture-specific and culturally-universal elements. This new multidimensional model of successful aging was compared to Rowe and Kahn’s (The Gerontologist 37:433–440, 1997) and Phelan et al.’s frameworks (Journal of the American Geriatric Society 52:211–216, 2004) of successful aging. The model of successful aging generated from this study appears to be more comprehensive than existing models and incorporates sociocultural experiences.

This study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health awarded to the first author. We thank all of the research participants and staff member research collaborators at Seinan Center and Keiro Retirement Home for their continual support. We also wish to thank Satomi Wakabayashi for her valuable research assistance.