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date: 17 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers several conceptions of successful aging, analyzing the morally relevant aspects of these models and their missed opportunities to illuminate moral flourishing in older adults. The authors review evidence that engagement with self-transcendent goals and contributions enhances deep well-being for older people, as well as contributing to the well-being of others and the common good. They briefly report their own research on purpose beyond the self, which indicates that almost one-third of a US national sample of older people is purposeful and that purpose in later life doesn’t require economic or educational privilege or even good health. The authors suggest that the moral development field should explore ways to expand conceptions of positive aging to take account of moral dimensions of flourishing and extend insights about moral maturity into the later stages of life.

Keywords: aging, elderly purpose beyond the self, positive aging, eudaimonic well-being, morality in older adults

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