Under this heading I will reflect on what it means to age gracefully.

I will analyse the ideas of ‘grace’ and ‘wisdom’ in a secular context, and contrast the notion of ‘graceful ageing’ with related notions, like ‘successful ageing’ and ‘healthy ageing’.

My preliminary position is that the contemporary discourse about ‘good’ ageing — both in research, in policy, and in media — is biased. There is too much emphasis on the medical and health aspects of ageing, and not enough attention on the aesthetic and spiritual (still in a secular sense) dimensions of growing old.

After having analysed these different understandings of ‘good’ ageing, I will discuss how different autobiographical practices might contribute to a good senior life.

In a paper titled “Successful ageing: a historical overview and critical analysis of a successful concept” (Journal of Aging Studies, vol. 31, 139–149, 2014; pdf here), Morten Bülow and I analyzed the notion of ‘successful ageing’. Cynthia Skenazi’s book Aging Gracefully in the Renaissance (2013) is an important source of inspiration for my attempt to conceptualize ‘graceful ageing’ vs. ‘successful ageing’, ‘healthy ageing’ etc. further.