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Re-Conceptualizing ‘Successful Aging’ from Older Adults’ Perspectives Using Public Deliberation

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dc.contributor.advisor Yen, Jeffery
dc.contributor.author Vaccarino, Oriana
dc.date.accessioned 2019-05-09T13:12:51Z
dc.date.available 2019-05-09T13:12:51Z
dc.date.copyright 2019-03
dc.date.created 2019-04-09
dc.date.issued 2019-05-09
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10214/16005
dc.description.abstract Considering the lack of common understandings of successful aging in the literature, there is a need and an opportunity for older adults to collectively negotiate the meaning of ‘successful aging’. In this study, public deliberation (PD) is used to arrive at a collective understanding of ‘successful aging’, through the eyes of older adults. Twenty-nine participants (aged 65-95) from Guelph participated in a PD over 2 days. On day 1, participants collectively defined ‘successful aging’. On day 2, participants collectively identified practical implications of their conceptualization for their daily lives and their community. Disapproving of the term ‘successful’, participants decided on ‘optimal aging’, as better representing the process. For them, this term encompassed advocacy, independence, support systems, knowing how to access supports, living within your abilities, being prepared for death, being valued, a sense of connectedness, and contributing to society. The main collective action item that participants decided on was the need for increased communication regarding where to find community resources. While such deliberative ‘outputs’ are often taken at face value, I performed additional analyses to identify the thematic concerns and rhetorical features of their discussion that cut across the different phases of the deliberation. Such analyses can foreground both content and processes that do not make it into the collectively agreed upon deliberative outputs. The thematic analysis highlights older adults’ struggles to be recognized, visible, and accommodated in society, as well as their struggle of meeting or resisting societal expectations. An ideological dilemma analysis reveals some of the tensions involved in trying to transcend existing representations of aging. A key dilemma here stems from the sometimes conflicting desire to be seen both as able, valued, and productive members of society like other adults, while also advocating for societal accommodations for age-specific needs. The last analysis chapter is a reflection on the use of PD as a research tool, where I reflect on my experience and provide recommendations for future use of PD in research contexts. I conclude by discussing implications for how aging is conceptualized in gerontology, policy, and practice. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International *
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ *
dc.subject Successful Aging en_US
dc.subject Older Adults en_US
dc.subject Public Deliberation en_US
dc.subject Ideological Dilemma en_US
dc.subject Representations of Aging en_US
dc.subject Thematic Analysis en_US
dc.subject Optimal Aging en_US
dc.subject Participatory Research en_US
dc.subject Access to Supports en_US
dc.subject Preparedness for Death en_US
dc.subject Recognition of Older Adults en_US
dc.subject Invisibility of Older Adults en_US
dc.title Re-Conceptualizing ‘Successful Aging’ from Older Adults’ Perspectives Using Public Deliberation en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.degree.programme Psychology en_US
dc.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy en_US
dc.degree.department Department of Psychology en_US
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