Populations across the world are ageing, and more of us than ever before will live into very old age. Although you may not see this chapter as relevant personally to you now, how you plan and prepare for your later years is critical to how well you might flourish as you age. It will also apply to the older generation in your own families. In some societies, elderly people are viewed as a blessing and revered as wise elders while in others they may be seen as more of a burden and either regarded negatively or simply disregarded. We are all responsible for how our senior citizens are positioned and treated to ensure their maximum wellbeing. One day this will be you.

It is not only physical health and the ability to continue to be active that matters but also coping with psychological and emotional changes. In this chapter we consider the common challenges to ageing well and explore the research supporting the concept of positive ageing, considering how later life might become a time of further opportunity with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. Our social systems need to support this, including design that takes into account physical limitations to facilitate access and also how the elderly are represented.  We end the chapter by considering the actions governments, communities and individuals might take to make ageing a more positive experience.

Ashton Applewhite: We Are All Aging So Let’s End Ageism. Keynote Speech, 2018 National Bioneers Conference.

Dr Laura Carstensen TED Talk: Older People Are Happier  April 2012

Dr Laura Carstensen: The New Culture of Ageing February 2015

Brigham Young University Gerontology Conference 2017: Dr Marc Agronin Building a Better Older Brain

Royal Academy of Dance – Henry Danton, 100 Year Old Ballet Teacher

WHO Decade of Healthy Ageing: December 2020

Les Brown (1992). Live your dreams. Avon Books.

Why think about ageing?

Social challenges in ageing well

Positive ageing