This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007



Understanding old age and exploring its positive aspects

Nidhi Mishra & Nisha Dhawan — University of Allahabad, Allahabad


Today India is home to one out of every ten senior citizens of the world and within the next 25 years India will be among the world’s grayest country. However the gerontological research in India is guided by western notions and hypothesis. Thus, there is an urgent need for a culturally nuanced Indian gerontology. To fulfill this aim the present study attempts to understand old age and its positive aspects from the elderly’s perspective. Twenty elderly persons of 65-75 years participated in this study. They were asked to share their conceptualization and experiences of old age. The responses were recorded and transcribed. Content analysis of the responses indicated that old age is not only related to physical and psychological changes but is also influenced by family matters, cultural factors, economic conditions and also one’s attitude towards life, faith in God and meaning of life. Most of the elderly reported that they have a purpose in life which does not make them feel old. Some of them reported that they feel optimistic and competent in old age. It seems from the analysis that there are some positive aspects present in old age, which are also mentioned in the Indian scriptures. The study has implications for understanding positive aspects of ageing and the role of cultural factors in old age.

Email the author, Ms. Nidhi Mishra, at