The concept of positive ageing is about making the most of the benefits of being old and keeping a good attitude about life. It is about keeping a positive growth mindset throughout older age just like any other phase of life, regardless of challenges or opportunities.
Having a positive attitude during times of loss or change can help to make those life experiences easier and make life generally more satisfying. According to the Office for Seniors, positive ageing covers the full spectrum of experiences including health, independence, financial security, self-fulfilment, personal safety, and living environments.
Key factors for positive ageing
Positive ageing can be influenced by attitudes and qualities. Some examples of good key attitudes to keep a positive mindset while ageing include:
- Being adaptable and embracing change
- Having a sense of humour
- Being determined
- Staying optimistic
- Wanting to maintain social relationships
- Learning to live with limitations
- Being aware of the need to make the most of what you have
- A desire to live a quality life
As you get older, you will experience lots of changes that may be challenging to accept. You may have difficulties with transitioning out of work, requiring new living arrangements, changes in your social networks, bereavements, and health and ability changes. Being adaptable and embracing these changes will help you take advantage of what you can do rather than focusing on the negative aspects.
The Positive Ageing Strategy, written in 2001 and updated in 2014, outlines a strategy for communities to promote the positive ageing of older people. It aims to create communities where older people are highly valued, recognised as integral parts of families, are acknowledged for their contributions, and are encouraged to participate in their community. The main goals of the strategy are:
- Income – secure and adequate income
- Health – equitable, affordable, accessible health services
- Housing – affordable and appropriate housing options
- Transport – affordable and accessible transport options
- Community – ensuring older people feel safe and secure about ageing in the community
- Diversity – having a range of culturally appropriate services allowing choice
- Rural services – not being disadvantaged when accessing services in rural communities
- Positive attitudes – that people of all ages have positive attitudes towards ageing
- Employment – eliminating ageism and promoting flexible work options
- Personal growth and participation – increasing opportunities for personal growth and community participation
The strategy is being implemented through local councils and other organisations. They are working towards a more positive outlook of ageing in their communities, by taking into account the health, financial security, independence, personal safety, self-fulfilment, and living environment of local older New Zealanders. You can read the full strategy here, and you can find other information on the SuperSeniors website.
Websites of interest
- You can read about ageism in New Zealand in this article on Health Central
- Information about becoming a Dignity Champion and fighting ageism can be found on our website here
- You can read about creating age-friendly communities at the Centre for Ageing Better