244069 Relationship Between Self-Rated Successful Aging and Objective Measures of Aging

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jean Gaines, PhD, RN , Erickson Living Foundation, Catonsville, MD
Katherine Marx, MPH , Erickson Living Foundation, Catonsville, MD
John Parrish, PhD , Erickson Living Foundation, Catonsville, MD
Self-ratings of successful aging (SA) by older adults tend to be much higher than objective measures generated by medical professionals and gerontologists. In this study, we asked a convenience sample of 439 independent living older adults (M age = 80.7; sd = 6.1; 74% female) to rate how successfully they were aging on a scale from 0 = not successfully to 10 = very successfully. The average rating was 8.1 (sd = 1.4). Using linear regression, after controlling for age and education level, seven factors were regressed on the self-rating of SA: 1) number of major diseases, 2) ADL disability index, 3) cognition, 4) physical function, 5) walking activity, 6) community activity, and 7) life satisfaction. In the final model, the significant variables were age (=.17), disease (=-.11), cognition (=.12), physical function (=-.17), and life satisfaction (=.32), explaining 22.3% of the variance in self-rated SA. In this sample of older adults, life satisfaction, a psychological variable, had the greatest influence on SA. A greater understanding of how older adults subjectively view SA, especially when correlated with objective functional measures, may enable public health experts to better define and pursue targets for both policy- and practice-driven investments in healthy aging.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
The learner will discuss four factors that influence successful aging according to older adults.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been conducting research in successful aging for 6 years and gerontological research for 12 years. In the past year, I have been the author or co-author on 6 peer reviewed gerontological articles on osteoporosis, aging stereotypes, and activities of older adults. I have been a nurse for 35 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.