Abstract

Objective: There is a dearth of literature linking cognition and subjective indices of the aging process. The current study investigated the relationships between older adults' perception of the degree to which they are aging successfully, their cognitive abilities, and other objective indicators of successful aging (e.g., physical health, social engagement, and mental health). It was hypothesized that greater cognitive abilities would be related to 1) higher self-ratings of successful aging and 2) higher ratings on measures of other aspects of successful aging. Method: 46 English-speaking, community dwelling, and non-conservatized older adults ages 65 and older were recruited from a senior recreation center in the greater Los Angeles area. Individuals with degenerative cognitive disorders were excluded. Participants completed measures of independence of activities of daily living, mental health, social engagement, and cognitive abilities. Results: Although global cognitive abilities were unrelated to self-rated successful aging, physical health, social engagement, and mental health, attention abilities were associated with lower self-report ratings of successful aging, r(44) = −.34, p < .05). Additionally, performance on measures of learning and memory were positively correlated with overall psychological functioning, r(44) = .31, p < .05, and higher scores on measures of language ability were associated with lower physical disability (M = 60.69, SD = 9.23). Conclusion(s): Although relationships between global measures of cognitive abilities were unrelated to aspects of successful aging, specific cognitive abilities were related. These findings suggest that future research on cognitive abilities among the successful aging population should target individual indices of cognition.