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Toward a productive ageing paradigm for geriatric practice

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An alternative frame of reference for geriatric practice is presented centering on the concept of productive ageing. This perspective underscores two distinct but compatible conceptualizations of the ageing experience: 1) an external, utilitarian view that emphasizes concrete societal contributions made by older adults to others whether they be individuals, families, groups, organizations, or communities; and 2) an internal, affective view which emphasizes the older person subscribing to personal philosophies positively impacting one’s own well-being and quality of life. Both emphasize engagement by older adults in the economic, social, and physical environment as well as the importance of elders having direction, structure, purpose in life, engaged in activity, and accomplishing tasks. Assets, resources, capacities, and skills of older adults are underscored rather than problems, deficiencies, and needs. A productive ageing paradigm is seen to transcend the physical or functional status of the older person and have direct implications for health and human service personnel assuming an expanded set of professional functions in both traditional and nontraditional community service settings.

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Correspondence to Lenard W. Kaye D.S.W..

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The authors benefited significantly from the thoughtful feedback ofAgeing International reviewers of this manuscript. Their recommendations and thoughts have been incorporated in the revised version of this manuscript.

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Kaye, L.W., Butler, S.S. & Webster, N.M. Toward a productive ageing paradigm for geriatric practice. Ageing Int. 28, 200–213 (2003).

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