Are perceptions of successful aging the same for everyone? 

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perceptions of successful aging are most definitely not the same for everyone.  Such perceptions can differ across cultures and have definitely changed over time.

In today’s United States, for example, our views of successful aging have changed dramatically.  Once, we might have thought a person had aged successfully if they had a few years of relative health between retirement and death.  Today, we no longer hold any such view.  Today, our perception of successful aging is one in which a person is barely perceived to age at all.  This has come about in part because our work is no longer nearly as physically demanding as it once was.  People reach “old age” in much better physical condition because they have not been worn down by years of hard labor.  This has also come about in part because of our growing medical capabilities.  So many more diseases and conditions can be treated that people expect to remain healthy for years after retirement.   Plastic surgery allows people to look younger than they are.

People in past times held very different perceptions of successful aging.  The same is true of people from societies that are not as technologically advanced as our own.  Thus, we can say that perceptions of successful aging are definitely not the same for everyone.