ARCUS Student Award | 4th Annual Award
4th Annual ARCUS Award for Arctic Research Excellence
|Submitted by:||Peter Collings|
|Title:||"If you got everything, it's good enough": perspectives on successful aging in a Canadian Inuit Community|
|Affiliation:||Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania|
Structured interviews with 38 Inuit in the community of Holman were conducted to examine Inuit definitions of successful and unsuccessful aging. Qualitative analysis of the interview data suggests that 1) contrary to much of the literature about culture change in the Canadian North, there appear to be no significant differences in the ways Inuit of different age cohorts view aging and elderhood; 2) a successful old age is not one necessarily characterized by individual good health, but rather by the ability of the individual to successfully manage declining health; and 3) for Inuit, the most important determinants of a successful elderhood are not material, but ideololgical. That is, an individual's attitudes in late life, and in particular their willingness to transmit their accumulated wisdom and knowledge to their juniors, are the critical determinants of whether an elder is viewed as having a successful old age.