Aim: ‘Successful aging’ in individuals with schizophrenia has been attracting attention. We examined two forward-looking factors of successful aging among schizophrenia patients: ‘attitude toward aging’ and ‘preparing behavior for old age’.
Methods: Fifty-seven middle-aged and elderly schizophrenia patients with successful aging were identified using the Attitude toward Aging Scale, the Preparing Behavior for Old Age Scale, and assessments of their cognitive function, psychiatric symptoms, social functioning and quality of life. A multiple regression analysis was used to detect determinants of attitude toward aging/preparing behavior for old age at that time (‘present’: community dwelling). We also analyzed predictors of successful aging using demographic/clinical data assessed 3 years previously (‘past’: residential care).
Results: The multiple regression analysis revealed that quality of life was a significant determinant: a higher quality of life was related to a more positive attitude toward aging and less active preparing behavior. The significant predictors of preparing behavior were quality of life and the length of the hospital stay: a longer hospital stay and a higher quality of life were related to less active preparing behavior.
Conclusion: Quality of life and the length of the hospital stay significantly contributed to forward-looking factors of successful aging. Avoiding long hospitalization periods for patients with schizophrenia may lead to more active preparing behavior, but the improvement of quality of life may not be a sufficient condition. As schizophrenia patients have an optimistic attitude and insufficient preparing behavior, support to prepare such individuals for old age is required as part of community-based psychiatric care strategies.