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Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit
photo of three men singing (Golden Tones)
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1.4: Productive Aging

Leaders in the aging field are using the term productive aging to celebrate older adults’ capabilities, potential, and social and economic contributions. (Other terms include vital, creative, successful, optimal, active, or healthy aging.) Productive aging means continuing to live life. At age 20, 40, or 80, we want to

In a 2006 study of 205 adults over age 60 and living in the community, 92 percent rated themselves as aging productively despite having chronic illnesses and some disability. Findings showed that productive aging is not related to age, ethnicity, level of education, marital status, or income, but rather to

Older adults who are frail can also experience the six characteristics of productive aging, but in a different context. Exercise for someone who is frail may be raising an arm as opposed to doing push-ups. Productive aging is no less relevant for people with dementia, though mastery is deemphasized because developing skills is often not possible.

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