Aging Successfully: the Psychological Aspects of Growing Old


Systematic examination of old age is a new field inspired by the unprecedented number of people living long enough to become elderly. Developmental psychologists Paul and Margret Baltes have proposed a model of adaptive competence for the entire life span, but the emphasis here is on old age. Their model SOC (Selection, Optimization, and Compensation) is illustrated with engaging vignettes of people leading fulfilling lives, including writers Betty Friedan and Joan Erikson, and dancer Bud Mercer. Segments of the cognitive tests used by the Baltes in assessing the mental abilities of older people are shown. The Baltes discuss personality components that generally lead to positive aging experiences in this visually and intellectually appealing video.