Perceptions and processes of successful aging among African American men 60 and older: A focus group study
Ford, Terri O'Neal
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The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions and processes of successful aging among African American men 60 and older. This qualitative designed research provided African American men the opportunity to add to the existing aging literature about what successful aging means to them. Stage eight of Erik Erikson’s human development theory along with the selective optimization compensation model of successful aging provide the theoretical lens that framed this research investigation. Fifteen participants from the North Texas area shared their perceptions and processes of aging through their responses to (a) demographic questionnaire, (b) focus group sessions (“FG” or “Focus Group”) and (c) follow-up interviews (“FI”). Participants were between the ages of 60 to 81 years and showed a positive attitude towards growing older and believed they were aging successfully. Through the data collected the following themes emerged from the focus group discussions: (1) Independence, (2) Valuing Family, (3) Spirituality, (4) Community Involvement, and (5) Acceptance of the Aging Process. The one major, overarching, theme that emerged from the individual interviews was Making the Right Choices. Themes that re-emerged from the focus group session during the individual interviews were (1) Independence, (2) Community Involvement, (3) Valuing Family, and (4) Spirituality.