New Book — Resilience and Aging

January 19, 2021

Edited by Andrew Wister and Theodore D. Cosco, this new volume addresses the ways in which older adults bounce back from different types and combinations of adversity.

Excerpt from the introduction:

Older aged adults face many adversities over the later life course. This edited volume will address the ways in which seniors bounce back from different types and combinations of adversity – termed “resilience”. While research has been accumulating that identifies inherent abilities and external resources needed to adapt and navigate stress-inducing experiences among aging and older adults, gaps remain in understanding the unique elements and processes of resilience. A series of chapters included in this book will address several overarching questions: why do some older individuals/families/communities adapt to adversity better than others; what are modifiable behavioral protective/risk factors related to resilience; and how can we foster resilience at the individual/community level and which approaches show the most promise?

The spectrum of aging-related challenges and responses addressed in this book include: mental health; physical/functional health problems; multimorbidity; socio-economic deprivation; social isolation and loneliness; cultural dimensions of loneliness; housing/homelessness problems; and environmental disasters. This book presents cutting-edge science at the conceptual, methodological, empirical and practice levels applied to emerging resilience sub-fields in gerontology. It will also present potential areas of future research, policy and practice linked to these areas.

During a period of the most rapid population aging in the US, Canada and many other nations, coupled with heightened global socio-political change, extending our knowledge of resilience will help society to make important adjustments to maximize health and wellness of older individuals. Supporting and enhancing resilience through technological, social and/or community-level advances in geroscience will help those facing adversity to thrive by harnessing, stretching, and leveraging a wide array of potential resources. The promotion of healthier older populations has far-reaching consequences for health care and social/community support systems, both in terms of public health including pandemic response, and the development and implementation of innovations in treatment and practice guidelines.