Stop aging and start living: The theory and practice of positive aging

Laura L. Payne, Charly Heavenrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article introduces some traditional mixed with some novel ways to think about the human aging experience. We acknowledge that many, if not most, adults who live into their fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth decade, or even longer, will likely experience physical, social, and emotional losses of one kind or another. While we acknowledge the increased risk of facing losses with age, we aspire to bring a different focus to the process of aging. Through the interplay between theory and practice as set forth through Laura's academic perspectives and Charly's lived experience, the stage is set for fresh questions with which to shape future research on the role that leisure plays in positive aging. We highlight both contemporary theoretical ideas and one person's reality-based experience with aging. The article introduces this special issue by bringing an alternative voice to the human aging experience. After all, even in the face of loss in old age, Baltes and Baltes' theory of Selective Optimization with Compensation (SOC) provides us with the tools to make later life a good life, and to make living long the opportunity to age well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal on Disability and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Cognitive
  • Health
  • Physical
  • Positive aging
  • Socioemotional change
  • Wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Sensory Systems
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Speech and Hearing


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