Understanding Older Adults’ Wellbeing from a Philosophical Perspective

Søren Harnow Klausen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

In spite of the large research interest in older adults’ wellbeing, a theory of older adult’s wellbeing as such is still lacking. I present the outline of such a theory, determining its scope and premises and suggesting avenues for its further development and related empirical research. I assume that wellbeing is a complex and dynamic phenomenon, depending on a subtle interplay between several different factors. Older adults tend to combine and value these factors differently from other age groups, and this should be reflected by a domain-specific wellbeing theory. I argue more specifically that dispositional properties are less important to older adults’ wellbeing; that vulnerability is a second-order disposition, and that this explains why it does not seem to impede wellbeing; that hedonic adaptation takes very different forms, not least in older adults, and that it should be assessed in a correspondingly differentiated manner; that cognition and cognitive impairment can play very different, both positive and negative, roles depending on the context; and that notions like flourishing need modification, and are actually modified in wellbeing assessments and self-assessments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
ISSN1389-4978
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30. Oct 2019

Fingerprint

research interest
self-assessment
disposition
empirical research
age group
cognition
vulnerability
Values

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Cognition
  • Gerontology
  • Happiness/wellbeing
  • Mid-level theories of wellbeing
  • Older adults’ wellbeing
  • Philosophical theories of wellbeing

Cite this

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title = "Understanding Older Adults’ Wellbeing from a Philosophical Perspective",
abstract = "In spite of the large research interest in older adults’ wellbeing, a theory of older adult’s wellbeing as such is still lacking. I present the outline of such a theory, determining its scope and premises and suggesting avenues for its further development and related empirical research. I assume that wellbeing is a complex and dynamic phenomenon, depending on a subtle interplay between several different factors. Older adults tend to combine and value these factors differently from other age groups, and this should be reflected by a domain-specific wellbeing theory. I argue more specifically that dispositional properties are less important to older adults’ wellbeing; that vulnerability is a second-order disposition, and that this explains why it does not seem to impede wellbeing; that hedonic adaptation takes very different forms, not least in older adults, and that it should be assessed in a correspondingly differentiated manner; that cognition and cognitive impairment can play very different, both positive and negative, roles depending on the context; and that notions like flourishing need modification, and are actually modified in wellbeing assessments and self-assessments.",
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year = "2019",
month = "10",
day = "30",
doi = "10.1007/s10902-019-00197-5",
language = "English",
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Understanding Older Adults’ Wellbeing from a Philosophical Perspective. / Klausen, Søren Harnow.

In: Journal of Happiness Studies, 30.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Klausen, Søren Harnow

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N2 - In spite of the large research interest in older adults’ wellbeing, a theory of older adult’s wellbeing as such is still lacking. I present the outline of such a theory, determining its scope and premises and suggesting avenues for its further development and related empirical research. I assume that wellbeing is a complex and dynamic phenomenon, depending on a subtle interplay between several different factors. Older adults tend to combine and value these factors differently from other age groups, and this should be reflected by a domain-specific wellbeing theory. I argue more specifically that dispositional properties are less important to older adults’ wellbeing; that vulnerability is a second-order disposition, and that this explains why it does not seem to impede wellbeing; that hedonic adaptation takes very different forms, not least in older adults, and that it should be assessed in a correspondingly differentiated manner; that cognition and cognitive impairment can play very different, both positive and negative, roles depending on the context; and that notions like flourishing need modification, and are actually modified in wellbeing assessments and self-assessments.

AB - In spite of the large research interest in older adults’ wellbeing, a theory of older adult’s wellbeing as such is still lacking. I present the outline of such a theory, determining its scope and premises and suggesting avenues for its further development and related empirical research. I assume that wellbeing is a complex and dynamic phenomenon, depending on a subtle interplay between several different factors. Older adults tend to combine and value these factors differently from other age groups, and this should be reflected by a domain-specific wellbeing theory. I argue more specifically that dispositional properties are less important to older adults’ wellbeing; that vulnerability is a second-order disposition, and that this explains why it does not seem to impede wellbeing; that hedonic adaptation takes very different forms, not least in older adults, and that it should be assessed in a correspondingly differentiated manner; that cognition and cognitive impairment can play very different, both positive and negative, roles depending on the context; and that notions like flourishing need modification, and are actually modified in wellbeing assessments and self-assessments.

KW - Ældrevelfærd

KW - Velbefindende

KW - Definition af alderdom

KW - Gerontologi

KW - Hedonic adaptation

KW - Adaptation

KW - Cognition

KW - Gerontology

KW - Happiness/wellbeing

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KW - Philosophical theories of wellbeing

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