The future of successful aging in Alaska

Int J Circumpolar Health. 2013 Aug 5:72. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v72i0.21186. eCollection 2013.


Background: There is a paucity of research on Alaska Natives and their views on whether or not they believe they will age successfully in their home and community. There is limited understanding of aging experiences across generations.

Objective: This research explores the concept of successful aging from an urban Alaska Native perspective and explores whether or not they believe they will achieve a healthy older age.

Design: A cultural consensus model (CCM) approach was used to gain a sense of the cultural understandings of aging among young Alaska Natives aged 50 years and younger.

Results: Research findings indicate that aging successfully is making the conscious decision to live a clean and healthy life, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but some of Alaska Natives do not feel they will age well due to lifestyle factors. Alaska Natives see the inability to age well as primarily due to the decrease in physical activity, lack of availability of subsistence foods and activities, and the difficulty of living a balanced life in urban settings.

Conclusions: This research seeks to inform future studies on successful aging that incorporates the experiences and wisdom of Alaska Natives in hopes of developing an awareness of the importance of practicing a healthy lifestyle and developing guidelines to assist others to age well.

Keywords: Alaska Native; intergenerational; older adults; rural; successful aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / ethnology*
  • Aging / psychology
  • Alaska / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged