Being Active, Engaged, and Healthy: Older Persons' Plans and Wishes to Age Successfully

Johanna M Huijg, A Lex E Q van Delden, Frans J G van der Ouderaa, Rudi G. J. Westendorp, Joris P. J. Slaets, Jolanda Lindenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This study took an emic multidimensional approach on successful aging and examined what older people consider important to age successfully by asking them about their plans and wishes (PWs). Associations between participants' demographics, health status, working life, social contacts, life satisfaction, and their PWs were investigated.

Method: An online questionnaire was completed by 649 older individuals (55-90 years). Conceptual content analysis was performed to identify important categories in PWs. Quantitative analyses were conducted to examine associations between PWs and participants' characteristics.

Results: Most mentioned PWs were related to activities, engagement with life, and health. Seventy-four participants (11.4%) expressed no PWs. Multivariate analysis revealed that having PWs was most strongly related to participants' life satisfaction. Older individuals with a higher life satisfaction indicated significantly more often to have PWs than individuals with a lower life satisfaction.

Discussion: The majority of older people desire an active, engaged, and healthy life. PWs were variable and personal, which endorses an emic, multidimensional approach to successful aging. Knowledge on what older individuals find important in their lives and what they want to achieve can assist older individuals in setting and attaining their goals toward aging well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-236
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology. Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date3-Sep-2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2017


  • Emic perspective
  • Multidimensional approach
  • Plans and wishes
  • Successful aging

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