Social Sciences, Vol. 11, Pages 10: Meaningful Aging: A Relational Conceptualization, Intervention, and Its Impacts

Social Sciences doi: 10.3390/socsci11010010

Vivian W. Q. Lou

Having a meaningful life is one of the most important goals among older adults. This paper provided an overview of a programme of research and practice on meaningful aging among older Chinese adults. It firstly describes the process of developing and validating a relational conceptualization of a meaningful life (i.e., spiritual well-being) among older Chinese adults from its conceptual roots, development, and validation process since 2009 through an academic–community collaboration. In brief, a meaningful life was attributed to five relationships centered on older adults: the relationship with self, relationship with family, relationship with friends, relationship with people other than family and friends, and relationship with the environment. Secondly, the paper explains a validated assessment tool (e.g., the Spirituality Scale for Chinese Elders, (SSCE)) that was developed accordingly. Evidence-based stratified interventions derived from the conceptualization and operationalization were then introduced including a professionally led group intervention protocol, a volunteer-partner intervention protocol, and a self-help-oriented intervention, which shared eight-session core contents. Good practices in applying various interventions among older adults with diversified backgrounds (e.g., health status, age, and gender) and various service settings (e.g., community, long-term care facilities, and home visits) were then synthesized. Thirdly, feedback from stakeholders is illustrated, and good practices are discussed. In conclusion, a culturally sensitive and meaningful aging framework is timely and impactful for the globally aging world.

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