TitleAre "anti-aging medicine" and "successful aging" two sides of the same coin? Views of anti-aging practitioners
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsFlatt, MA, Settersten, RA, Ponsaran, R, Fishman, JR
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Date Published11/2013

Objectives. This article analyzes data from interviews with anti-aging practitioners to evaluate how their descriptions of the work they do, their definitions of aging, and their goals for their patients intersect with gerontological views of “successful aging.” Method. Semistructured interviews were conducted with a sample of 31 anti-aging practitioners drawn from the directory of the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine. Results. Qualitative analysis of the transcripts demonstrate that practitioners’ descriptions of their goals, intentionally or unintentionally, mimic the dominant models of “successful aging.” These include lowered risk of disease and disability, maintenance of high levels of mental and physical function, and continuing social engagement. Yet, the means and modes of achieving these goals differ markedly between the two groups, as do the messages that each group puts forth in defending their positions. Discussion. Anti-aging practitioners’ adoption of the rhetoric of successful aging reflects the success of successful aging models in shaping popular conceptions of what aging is and an ethos of management and control over the aging process. The overlap between anti-aging and successful aging rhetoric also highlights some of the most problematic social, cultural, and economic consequences of efforts made to reconceptualize old age.