Presidential Address: 2022 AAGP Annual Meeting the End of Old Age: Rethinking How We Define and Approach Aging

Published:November 19, 2022DOI:


      • For Marc Agronin, MD 2022 AAGP Presidential Address
      • This address was presented at the Presidential Plenary at the 2022 annual meeting of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.
      • In the article, Dr. Agronin presents a rationale for redefining aging based on positive, age-emergent strengths such as wisdom, resilience, purpose and creativity.
      • He suggests that we adopt a more expensive and positive approach to aging that can start with the very vocabulary we use to describe aging and aging individuals.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Agronin ME
        How We Age: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Growing Old.
        Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA2011
        • James W
        The Principles of Psychology. Original 1890 edition reprinted.
        Classics of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Library, New York1988
        • Arking R
        The Biology of Aging: Observations and Principles.
        3rd Ed. Oxford Univ Press, New York2006
        • Schaie KW
        • Willis SL
        The Seattle longitudinal study of adult cognitive development.
        ISSBD Bull. 2010; 57: 24-29
        • Gerstorf D
        • Ram N
        • Hoppmann C
        • et al.
        Cohort differences in cognitive aging and terminal decline in the Seattle Longitudinal Study.
        Dev Psychol. 2011; 47: 1026-1041
        • Jacoby S
        Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age.
        Pantheon Books, New York2011
      1. Emanuel EJ. Why I Hope to Die at 75. The Atlantic, 2014. Accessed November 15, 2022. Available at:

      2. Hall SS. A doctor and medical ethicist argues life after 75 is not worth living. MIT Technol Rev. Accessed November 15, 2022. Available at:

      3. Russell K. We are entering the age of Alzheimer's. The New Republic, Accessed November 15, 2022. Available at:

        • Chen L
        • Zhang J
        • Yang F
        • et al.
        Ageism in media and visual arts.
        (editors)in: Gu D Dupre ME Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. Springer International Publishing, New York, NY2021
        • Spurling H
        Matisse the Master: A Life of Henri Matisse, The Conquest of Color (1909 –1954).
        Alfred A. Knopf, New York2005
      4. Levasseur A. Ten creative talents tell AD how Matisse has influenced their work. Architectural Digest, Accessed November 15, 2022. Available at:

      5. Borrelli-Persson L, Dunne B. Matissifying five decades of fashion in Vogue. Vogue, Accessed November 15, 2022. Available at:

      6. Farra E. Novis fall 2105 ready-to-wear. Vogue, Accessed November 15, 2022. Available at:

      7. Phillips R: “Henri Matisse: the Cut-Outs” at Tate Modern. Posted in 2014. Accessed November 15, 2022. Available at:

        • Ardelt M
        • Oh H
        Wisdom: definition, assessment, and its relation to successful cognitive and emotional aging.
        (editors)in: Jeste DV Depp C Successful Cognitive and Emotional Aging. American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington, DC2010: 87-113
        • Baltes PB
        • Staudinger UM
        Wisdom. A metaheuristic (pragmatic) to orchestrate mind and virtue toward excellence.
        Am Psychol. 2000; 55: 122-136
        • Jeste DV
        • Lee EE
        • Cassidy C
        • et al.
        The New Science of Practical Wisdom.
        Perspect Biol Med. 2019; 62: 216-236
        • Agronin ME
        The End of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life.
        Da Capo Press, New York, NY2018
        • Tornstam L
        Gerotranscendence: A Developmental Theory of Positive Aging.
        Springer Publishing, New York2005
        • Glück J
        • Weststrate NM
        • Scherpf A
        Looking beyond linear: a closer examination of the relationship between wisdom and wellbeing.
        J Happiness Stud. 2022; 23: 3285-3313
        • Ong AD
        • Bergeman CS
        • Boker SM
        Resilience comes of age: defining features in later adulthood.
        J Pers. 2009; 77: 1777-1804
        • Tay PKC
        • Lim KK
        Psychological resilience as an emergent characteristic for well-being: a pragmatic view.
        Gerontology. 2020; 66: 476-483
        • Merchant RA
        • Aprahamian I
        • Woo J
        • et al.
        Editorial: resilience and successful aging.
        J Nutr Health Aging. 2022; 26: 652-656
        • O'Hara R
        • Beaudreau SA
        • Luzon A
        • et al.
        Stress, resilience and the aging brain.
        (editors)in: Jeste DV Depp C Successful Cognitive and Emotional Aging. American Psychiatric Publishing, Washington, DC2010: 173-196
        • Ditlevsen DN
        • Elklit A
        The combined effect of gender and age on post-traumatic stress disorder: do men and women show differences in the lifespan distribution of the disorder?.
        Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2010; 9: 32
        • Kobayashi I
        • Sledjeski EM
        • Delahanty DL
        Gender and age interact to predict the development of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms following a motor vehicle accident.
        Psychol Trauma. 2019; 11: 328-336
        • Stone AA
        • Schwartz JE
        • Broderick JE
        • et al.
        A snapshot of the age distribution of psychological well-being in the United States.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010; 107: 9985-9990
        • Hill PL
        • Turiano NA
        Purpose in life as a predictor of mortality across adulthood.
        Psychol Sci. 2014; 25: 1482-1486
        • Cohen R
        • Bavishi C
        • Rozanski A
        Purpose in life and its relationship to all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events: a meta-analysis.
        Psychosom Med. 2016; 78: 122-133
        • Levy BR
        • Slade MD
        • et al.
        Longitudinal benefit of positive self-perceptions of aging on functional health.
        J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2002; 57: P409-P417
        • Levy BR
        • Slade MD
        • Kunkel SR
        • et al.
        Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging.
        J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002; 83: 261-270
        • Levy BR
        • Slade MD
        • Pietrzak RH
        • et al.
        Positive age beliefs protect against dementia even among elders with high-risk gene.
        PLoS One. 2018; 13e0191004
        • Cohen GD
        The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain.
        Basic Books, New York2005
        • Cohen GD
        The Creative Age: Awakening the Human Potential in the Second Half of Life.
        HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY2000
        • Tobin MK
        • Musaraca K
        • Disouky A
        • et al.
        Human hippocampal neurogenesis persists in aged adults and Alzheimer's disease patients.
        Cell Stem Cell. 2019; 24: 974-982.e3
        • van Loenhoud AC
        • Groot C
        • Vogel JW
        • et al.
        Is intracranial volume a suitable proxy for brain reserve?.
        Alzheimers Res Ther. 2018; 10: 91
        • Stern Y
        • Arenaza-Urquijo EM
        • Bartrés-Faz D
        • et al.
        Whitepaper: defining and investigating cognitive reserve, brain reserve, and brain maintenance.
        Alzheimers Dement. 2020; 16: 1305-1311
        • Goh JO
        • Park DC
        Neuroplasticity and cognitive aging: the scaffolding theory of aging and cognition.
        Restorative Neurol Neurosci. 2009; 27: 391-403
        • Festini S
        • Lahodne L
        • Reuter-Lorenz PA
        Theoretical perspectives on age differences in brain activation: HAROLD, PASA, CRUNCH—How do they STAC up?.
        (editor)in: Braddick O Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. 2018 (Online Publication Accessed November 15, 2022. Available at:)
        • Commons ML
        • Ross SN
        What postformal thought is, and why it matters.
        World Futures. 2008; 64: 321-329
        • Carstensen LL
        • Isaacowitz DM
        • Charles ST
        Taking time seriously. A theory of socioemotional selectivity.
        Am Psychol. 1999; 54: 165-181
        • Levy B.
        Stereotype embodiment: a psychosocial approach to aging.
        Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2009; 18: 332-336
        • Cole TR.
        The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America.
        Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK1992: p. xxi
      8. Longfellow HW. Morituri Salutamus: Poem for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1825 in Bowdoin College. Accessed November 15, 2022. Available at: