From a lifespan perspective, it is not clear what exactly aging is or when it starts. Some scholars define aging as increasing proximity to death. Some definitions of aging focus on deterioration (aka senescence) or transformation from peak performance into a lessened state of performance. Alternately, other definitions of aging pertain to people who have passed their 65th birthday, regardless of whether they are working full time, rock climbing in their free time, and rearing children from a second marriage.

Each of these definitions has some grain of truth. By late life, most individuals experience differences in their physiology, cognitive abilities, emotional experiences, and social lives compared with earlier in life. The process that leads to these changes may be thought of as “aging.” This ...

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