OSU - Alliance on Aging
As a network of Human Sciences faculty and students with a shared interest in age-friendly services, the OSU-Alliance on Aging is comprised of more than a dozen faculty affiliates from the four Human Sciences academic units engaged in scholarship that is relevant to active aging. The strength of this Alliance is in the multiple ways in which we view the aging process and the social and physical environments in which that process takes place. Our Active Aging for LIFE public health initiative represents our commitment to working together toward improved outcomes in Longevity, Independence, Fitness and Engagement for active aging across the lifespan for Oklahomans.
The World Health Organization defines health as the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. To achieve this vision of health for its members, a healthy society must establish and sustain conditions, including a healthful natural and built environment, and equitable social and economic policies and institutions, that ensure the happiness, harmonious relations, and security of all people. Positive health outcomes for people include functioning well mentally, physically, and socially; and having a sense of well-being.
The Life Course Perspective
As we age, health is determined by patterns of living, exposures and opportunities for health protection over the life course. Thus, the health of older persons should be viewed in the context of the whole of life. The life-course perspective recognizes that aging takes place within a sociohistorical context that differentially provides resources to individuals based on gender, socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity. The lifelong impact of individual choices can have a substantial influence on well-being in later life.
Active aging depends on a variety of influences that surround individuals and families. They include the following factors and affect individuals’ behaviors and feelings.
Longevity – The fastest growing age group globally is 60 and older and this population is expected to more than double to 2 billion in 2050. Yet, increased longevity of life does not necessarily mean increased longevity of health. A sense of optimism and other behavioral determinants can be a key indicator in positive health outcomes.
Independence – Health and social services and appropriate physical environments, which are accessible and close to affordable public transportation, allow for greater individual independence.
Fitness – Evidence shows that across the life course, cognitive training, physical activity and managing cardiovascular health are protective against neurological and physical decline.
Engagement – Contribution to all areas of community life through volunteering, employment options and civic participation allow for a sense of long-term inclusion.