Innovative Perspectives on Resilience and Aging

Resilience, the adaptive capacity to bounce back after a loss, adversity or disruptive change, is at the heart of our psychological well-being, particularly as we grow older. Current research holds the promise of enhanced psychological resilience as we age: the better we understand resilience and the conditions that create it in our own lives, the more likely we are to savour this later-life stage with inspiration, courage and zest.

Examining both current research and wisdom traditions, as well as engaging in online discussion and self-reflective explorations, we will consider resilience from multiple perspectives. We’ll aim not only to identify elements in our own lives that may enhance resilience, but also to better appreciate our innate human capacity for generating resilience at any age.

A $60 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Monica Franz $180.00 13 Register

Schedule clarification: Online courses begin on the first date listed and end six days after the last date listed. The interim dates/times are not your actual online class times.

What will I learn?

Week 1: Introduction to resilience: Springing forward (not back!) from adversity

What, exactly, is resilience? How do some of the pervasive cultural myths of aging impede our capacity for resilience? How does current research refute some of these myths? Models of resilience, resilient attitudes and adaptation.

Week 2: Resilience as a function of identity: Becoming the whole of who we really are

How do we negotiate the transition beyond mid-life toward greater authenticity? Models of identity development, particularly those of Erikson and Jung, offer us insights into this critical and rich question.

Week 3: Resilience as a function of meaning: Why meaning matters

How have the meanings that shaped our lives transformed over time? What is the relationship between our beliefs and values and what we perceive as meaningful to us now? How does meaning, particularly Frankl’s conception of meaning, contribute to resilience?

Week 4: Resilience as a function of belonging: The power of (inter)connection

What is the role of endorphins and other well-being hormones in connection? And conversely, what is the relationship between loneliness and the stress response? What unique challenges do we face as we age in a wired world? Connection and belonging as sources of resilience.

Week 5: Grief as adaptation

How does grief create the conditions for resilience? How does the grief cycle as conceptualized by Therese Rando mirror the resiliency cycle? What is the current research on aging and grief? Comparative models of grief, the relationship between grief and resilience, complicated grief.

Week 6: Wisdom as the heart of resiliency

What, exactly, is wisdom? How do wisdom and its corollaries, insight, contentment and acceptance, contribute to resilience? What does the current research tell us about wisdom and its functions, particularly in aging? Can we cultivate wisdom? If so, how?

How will I learn?

Each module will begin with a presentation and a short reading. You are encouraged to engage in a self-reflective exercise (entirely optional and entirely private) followed by posting responses to discussion questions. References for future resources are provided.

While participation is encouraged and valued, please know that you are welcome to engage to the degree that is comfortable and congruent with your learning style: each element of the course is entirely optional.

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

Reading material will be available online as part of the course.

Hardware and software requirements

You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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