The World Health Organization defines Active Aging as the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age (Michel, 2002). As from birth we are all in a constant state of aging, what does this definition truly mean? As children and as adults this process is pretty well established. What happened with the elder portion of our lives? Why is it such an issue at this point and how do we attain Active Aging?
As I See It the world has changed and is still changing along with varying views towards the family unit. Longevity and birth patterns have given us a growing elder population. This being said these same factors have in the past caused a larger child and adult population, yet I have not seen people in an uproar about these two categories. I believe this is tied to how we view each, children are viewed as the future, adults the present and elders the past. Our current short term thinking in this throwaway society is that the past has little value.
Active Aging is a process in which elders become participants in their aging processes, policies and procedures (Hooyman & Kiyak, An Active Aging Framework, 2005). This is essential first because who know their needs better and secondly because it will change the perception that as you get older you are simply a drain on society. As children you have no knowledge or experience to enhance society. It’s all about your potential. As an elder you defiantly have something to offer whether it be positive or negative experiences and you already know how to perform basic ( and advanced) functions, unlike a child.
As stated above Active Aging starts from birth so our life choices and situation affect our lives later. Things like lifestyle, socioeconomic status, health care, educational and social activities throughout our early lives follow us an effect us later in life (Hooyman & Kiyak, An Active Aging Framework, 2005).
Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak, H. A. (2005). An Active Aging Framework. In N. R. Hooyman, & H. A. Kiyak, Social Gerontology, A Multidisciplinary Prespective (pp. 7-9). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., as Allyn & Bacon.
Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak, H. A. (2005). Immigrants from Traditional Cultures to the United States. In N. R. Hooyman, & H. A. Kiyak, Scial Getontology A Multidisciplinary Perspective (pp. 59-64). Boston: Pearson Education as Allyn & Bacon.
Michel. (2002). Active Ageing A policy Framework. Geneva: World Health Organization.