Segments in this Video

Introduction to Aging Successfully (04:09)


Today, life expectancy is nearly 80 years. Psychologists study the special challenges this much older population face. One model called SOC qualifies how people can age successfully and with more independence.

Inverted "U" Curve (03:16)

The inverted "U" symbolizes the upward movement, stability, and then downward movement, which represents old age. The intellectual aspect of aging does not necessarily correspond to physical deterioration.

Forms of Intelligence (01:38)

There are two types of intellectual performance, one related to biology and one related to culture. The first, called fluid mechanics, is subject to age-related losses. The second, called crystallized pragmatics, continues to grow in healthy old age.

Wisdom in Old Age (03:54)

Wisdom is something that grows well into old age. Wisdom is an expert knowledge system of the fundamental pragmatics of life, permitting exceptional insight, judgment and advice. As measured, people over 60 rate the very best.

Personality and Cognitive Style (01:45)

Personality and cognitive style are more important than intelligence in terms of wisdom. Cognitive style includes openness to new experiences, thinking flexibility, creativity, and empathy. Personality styles change very little as people age.

Aging: Mind Over Body (04:58)

Age alone does not define a person--at any age. At 85 and older, age is a more critical factor, and losses are more conspicuous. Psychologists Paul and Margret Baltes illustrate their SOC (selection, optimization, and compensation) model in the lives of senior citizens.

Retirement Options (03:42)

In retirement some people find new occupations or activities that are more fulfilling than their youthful activities. Successful agers use opportunities to learn skills and seek means to achieve goals.

Adaptive Competence (02:50)

Adaptive competence uses creative problem solving to manage the opportunities and challenges of old age. Nursing home staff often reinforce dependence rather than independence in their aging population. Social interactions are critical in the lives of older people.

Developmental Old Age (03:31)

For the first half of life, society provides people with ways to deal with the tasks of life. In old age, developmental tasks are far less defined. Society has not yet come up with a norm that defines successful old age.

Credits: "Aging Successfully: The Psychological Aspects of Growing Old" (00:55)

Credits: "Aging Successfully: The Psychological Aspects of Growing Old"

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Aging Successfully: The Psychological Aspects of Growing Old

Part of the Series : Gerontology: Intellectual and Emotional Development in Late Adulthood
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Developmental psychologists Paul and Margret Baltes proposed a model of adaptive competence for the entire life span, but the emphasis here is on old age. In this program, the Baltes illustrate their SOC (selection, optimization, and compensation) model with engaging vignettes of senior citizens leading fulfilling lives, including writers Betty Friedan and Joan Erikson and dancer Bud Mercer. Segments of the cognitive tests used in assessing the mental abilities of older people are shown as the Baltes discuss personality components that generally lead to positive aging experiences. Viewable/printable educational resources are available online. A part of the series Gerontology. (31 minutes)

Length: 31 minutes

Item#: BVL44913

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“With tight, minimalist editing and well-chosen interviews, the program serves as an excellent introduction to the Baltes’s model.” —Kelly Hensley, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee       


1998 Runner-Up—National Council on Family Relations Media Awards


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Only available in USA and Canada.