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The Discourse of Aging

Madden, Connie L., MS, RN; Cloyes, Kristin G., PhD, MN, RN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0b013e318262608e
Original Articles

Historical and epistemological developments contribute to and reinforce the underlying framework that categorizes antiaging discourse and healthy aging discourse. This discourse creates the question “Can we live longer or better?” and encompasses issues of quality versus quantity, dependency versus autonomy, and risk versus benefit. By positing this discourse as a dichotomous tension, the development can be traced through the examination of select examples of influential studies in the field of aging. For nursing, the risk of these continued oppositions is potential oversimplification that may limit discernment of the complexities of care of older adults. Through understanding of the evolution and imposition of this dichotomizing discourse, nursing can provide older adult care within the reality of the aging experience, and develop frameworks, theories, and multidisciplinary discursive practice to optimize nursing care in the real-world spaces that exist between antiaging and healthy aging boundaries.

University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Correspondence: Connie Madden, MS, RN, University of Utah College of Nursing, 10 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City Utah, 84112 (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Copyright © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.