The current literature on successful aging continues to grow, however it lacks a consistent definition of successful aging. Throughout the literature there are multiple themes and ideas that have been used to define successful aging by varying age groups. The current study took a similar approach by evaluating data gathered on older adults age 95 and older through a prescreen performed as part of the Longevity Study. The prescreen consisted of demographic information and self-reported contributors of successful aging. The demographic results demonstrated that the mean age was 98.4 (SD=2.40), with the majority of participants being widowed, living alone, in a single family home, and with some college or associates degree. The demographics varied between genders, with the key difference that men are more likely to be married and, therefore, live with someone. Self-reported contributors to successful aging exhibited that men and women had the same top three overall responses: positive attitude, diets, and biological; however, the rank order of these responses differed by gender. Also, the men more frequently picked marriage and spouse as key contributors, whereas females chose social engagement and support. The possible reasons for these differences may be related to the male to female ratio in the older population and males being more likely than women to date or re-marry with some family and friend support after loss of a spouse. Moreover, women regardless of marital status do not usually find their spouse as the primary support source, and males favor their spouse as their primary support source. Understanding the perspective of the oldest old may help to create better prevention and interventions techniques, alongside improved future research studies.
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