AAG has been challenged over recent years in arriving at an appropriate term to describe the process of ageing in a manner which is inclusive and respectful towards older people.
Historically terms such as successful, positive or healthy ageing have been used to describe the ageing process. This has often been described as the absence of disease and disability, with a high level of cognitive functioning. These terms have been criticised by definition,as precluding those with chronic illness and disability, promoting discrimination against older people by promoting a healthier model of ageing to those well and younger old people who have thus far avoided significant chronic illness.
In this Position Paper, AAG reviews the research literature and advocates for and proposes that within AAG we adopt a more respectful and inclusive term (nomenclature) and approach towards ageing such as ‘adaptive ageing’ which we see as more appropriately representing the views of older people as they proceed through their respective ageing journeys. We see ‘adaptive ageing’ as being more inclusive of all older people reflecting the reality of the need to adapt, adjust, compensate, modify, alter, review and re-set.
This paper was developed following extensive on-line consultation with AAG staff and AAG Members in early 2021 (March to April 2021). This paper generated 137 responses made up of a great deal of passionate debate, discussion, comments, feedback and suggestions indicative of what would appear to be both a very contemporary and timely topic. These responses were incorporated into this final Position Paper.