Holistic View on Successful Aging: Life Course and Current Factors Determining Successful Aging in Thailand

Authors

ผศ.ดร.สิทธิ์ สุนทรายุทธ

Published

ASEAN Journal of Management and Innovation

Abstract

Aging population is a global phenomenon. In Asia, aging population is rapidly increasing in many countries with less preparation compared to the western countries. The proportion of older adults is considerably higher and demanding the attention to understand successful aging. Researchers have long shown interest to understand the meaning and also the complex factors leading to successful aging. However, much of their understanding are limited to uni-dimensional aspects either biomedical or social facet. This dissertation studied holistic view on successful aging taking account of the denotation, measurement, and also predictors of successful aging. It emphasizes on three important issues of ‘successful aging’ in Thailand which are 1) the meaning of aging successfully: happiness in later years 2) measurement of the constructs which can reflect the conceptualization for successful aging 3) factors, including both life-course factors and current factors which can predict successful aging in Thailand. The chapters started with the overview of population aging, which raised the interest of this topic in Thailand. The background of ‘successful aging’, supports and also critiques of successful aging models were summarized. The study adds to the concept of successful aging by examining the relationships between the life course factors, current factors and successful aging. Specifically, the criteria of ‘success’ will be expanded including life satisfaction, well-being, and self- actualization. Realizing successful aging will not occur overnight when entering the old age; both life course factors and current factors, will be implemented into the proposed model following the continuity theory. This can provide more holistic conceptual understanding of successful aging. Data were obtained from 520 older adults living in Thailand, which 490 are Thais and 30 are non-Thais following the proportion from Thailand census in 2010. The questionnaires were distributed in six provinces where the highest numbers of elderly people reside representing each six regions in Thailand. Exploratory Factory Analysis (EFA) using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to answer the following research question: To what extent do the life course factors and current factors relate to successful aging. The major findings show that there are important factors, resilience and mental health maintenance which could positively influence successful aging. Therefore, this leaves the room for the governmental units and related institution to apply better policy for both current older adults and the next generation to age successfully.

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