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The Positive Aging Movement

Updated: May 29, 2019



As the average lifespan increasingly gets higher in industrialized countries, Positive Aging, or flourishing in old age is gaining ground among practitioners and researchers alike. Erikson proposed that healthy aging could be described by three broad dimensions: insight, wisdom and playfulness. Erickson’s thinking on wisdom and insight surmised that these were the result of cumulative knowledge gained over a lifetime of experiences. His focus on playfulness was to recreate the magic of childhood which he hypothesized was dissipated through the burdens and challenges of life. Among other things, Erikson recommended creativity and play with children as activities that could foster positive emotion and wellbeing.


Research in Positive Aging back up Erikson’s ideas, studies have found that people in old age who have good social relationships, who are active in creative and physical pursuits, who are mentally engaged and ate a healthy diet were not only expected to live seven years longer than their peers but had a much better quality of life than them. Research in Blue zones: areas with the highest number of aged people in the world found that four critical factors helped their regions to attain a life expectancy of over 90: a) natural movement, b) positive thinking, c) a good diet and 4) a solid connection with others.

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