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Resilience in Aging
Concepts, Research, and Outcomes
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Main description:

The many significant technological and medical advances of the 21st century cannot overcome the escalating risk posed to older adults by such stressors as pain, weakness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, memory and other cognitive deficits, hearing loss, visual impairment, isolation, marginalization, and physical and mental illness. In order to overcome these and other challenges, and to maintain as high a quality of life as possible, older adults and the professionals who treat them need to promote and develop the capacity for resilience, which is innate in all of us to some degree. The purpose of this book is to provide the current scientific theory, clinical guidelines, and real-world interventions with regard to resilience as a clinical tool. To that end, the book addresses such issues as concepts and operationalization of resilience; relevance of resilience to successful aging; impact of personality and genetics on resilience; relationship between resilience and motivation; relationship between resilience and survival; promoting resilience in long-term care; and the lifespan approach to resilience.

By addressing ways in which the hypothetical and theoretical concepts of resilience can be applied in geriatric practice, Resilience in Aging provides inroads to the current knowledge and practice of resilience from the perspectives of physiology, psychology, culture, creativity, and economics. In addition, the book considers the impact of resilience on critical aspects of life for older adults such as policy issues (e.g., nursing home policies, Medicare guidelines), health and wellness, motivation, spirituality, and survival. Following these discussions, the book focuses on interventions that increase resilience. The intervention chapters include case studies and are intended to be useful at the clinical level. The book concludes with a discussion of future directions in optimizing resilience in the elderly and the importance of a lifespan approach to aging.


  1. This is the only book to focus exclusively on resilience and the aging process

  2. Editor was the recipient of the Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA’s) 2008 Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award
    The theme of the 2008 conference was "Resilience in an Aging Society: Risks and Opportunities"

Back cover:

Resilience in Aging
Concepts, Research, and Outcomes

Barbara Resnick, Karen A. Roberto, and Lisa P. Gwyther, editors

While medical advances are prolonging the lives of countless older adults, longevity can come at a steep price, such as chronic pain, fatigue, depression, or cognitive decline. To meet this widespread challenge, resilience—the ability to meet and recover from setbacks—has emerged as a promising clinical strategy toward successful aging. The only book devoted solely to the importance and development of resilience in elders’ quality of life, Resilience in Aging offers evidence-based theory, clinical guidelines, case examples, and real-world interventions so professional readers can make the best use of this powerful tool, whether one’s clients are in the office or in long-term care, in need of physical or psychological support, “worried well” or seriously ill. The book’s coverage extends across disciplines and domains, including:

• Cultural and ethnic perspectives on resilience in aging.
• Resilience on the job for the older worker.
• Resilience and personality disorders.
• Fostering resilience in chronic illness.
• Using the arts to promote resilience in persons with dementia.
• Policies to support resilience in an aging society.
• A resilience-building crisis response team.

This wide-ranging lifespan approach gives Resilience in Aging particular relevance to the gamut of practitioners in elder care, including health psychologists, neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, geriatricians, family physicians, nurses, and occupational and physical therapists.


Section 1. Introduction.- Definition and Concepts of Resilience.- Relevance of Resilience to Successful Aging.-  Section 2. Principles and Concepts of Resilience.- Resilience and the Impact of Personality and Genetics.-  Resilience in Older Adults.- Psychological Resilience.- Physiological Resilience and the Impact on Health.- Creative Resilience.- Economic Resilience.- Resilience from a Cultural Perspective.- Section 3. Special Considerations of Resilience with Respect to Health, Behavior, Beliefs, and Policy.- Resilience in Aging and the Interplay with Policy.- Religion, Spirituality, and Resilience.- Resilience in Chronic Disease.- Relationship Between Resilience and Motivation.- Relationship Between Resilience and Survival.- Section 4. Interventions to Increase Resilience.- Fostering Resilience Through Narratives.- Building Resilience in Mild Cognitive Impairment.- Use of Relation to Strengthen Resilience.- Environmental Interventions to Strengthen Resilience.- Supporting Resilience in Long-Term Care.- Promoting Resilience Through Interdisciplinary Interventions.- Section 5. Future Directions.- Optimizing Resilience in the Twenty-first Century.- The Lifespan Approach to Resilience.- Conclusion


ISBN-13: 9781441902313
Publisher: Springer (Springer New York)
Publication date: October, 2010
Pages: 388
Weight: 1590g
Availability: POD
Subcategories: Geriatrics, Psychology, Public Health


Barbara Resnick, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP is a Professor in the Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, holds the Sonya Ziporkin Gershowitz Chair in Gerontology at the School of Nursing, and does clinical work at Roland Park Place, a Lifecare community. Dr. Resnick holds a BSN from the University of Connecticut, an MSN from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD from the University of Maryland. Research interests and expertise focus on: health promotion and disease prevention; outcomes following rehabilitation, functional performance, motivation related to function and exercise, testing outcomes of restorative care nursing programs and other innovative long-term care projects, and dissemination and implementation of innovative approaches to health care across a variety of clinical settings. Dr. Resnick has over 150 published articles, numerous chapters in nursing and medical textbooks, and books on Restorative Care and Assisted Living Nursing. She has also presented on these topics nationally and internationally. Dr. Resnick's professional activities include membership in numerous nursing and interdisciplinary organizations and she has served as a board member in many of these organizations and serves on many editorial boards, is the editor of a journal, Geriatric Nursing, and serves on boards of organizations focused on care of the older adult. Dr. Resnick has been recognized through receipt of numerous awards such as the University of Connecticut Researcher of the Year Award, 2001, University of Pennsylvania 2003 Award for Clinical Excellence, the 2003 Founders Week Researcher award at the University of Maryland, 2004 Distinguished Scholar Award from University of Connecticut, 2004 Springer Geriatric Nursing Research Award, the Doris Schwartz award in 2008, and the 2009 Nurse Leader in Gerontology award among others. Dr. Resnick’s clinical practice involves providing primary medical management to older adults in a variety of settings, and she bases her work on over 35 years of experience in providing care to older adults. Karen A. Roberto, PhD is Professor and Director of the Center for Gerontology and the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia. Her research examines the intersection of health and social support in later life. Her primary interests include older women's adaptation to chronic health conditions, family relationships and caregiving, and elder abuse and mistreatment. She is the author of over 140 scholarly articles and book chapters and the editor or author of 8 books, including Pathways of Human Development: Explorations of Change (with J. Mancini, 2009). Dr. Roberto is past-chair of the Behavioral and Social Sciences section of the Gerontological Society of America. She is a fellow of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, the Gerontological Society of America, the National Council on Family Relations, and the World Demographic Association. Dr. Roberto is a recipient of the Gordon Streib Academic Gerontologist Award from the Southern Gerontological Society and the Virginia Tech University Alumni Award for Excellence in Research. Lisa P. Gwyther, MSW, LCSW is a social worker with more than 38 years of experience in aging, Alzheimer’s disease and family caregiver research and services. She is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine, a senior fellow of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging, founder and director of the Duke Aging Center Family Support Program, and education director of the Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Duke. She was the 2008 president of the Gerontological Society of America. Her annual meeting theme, "Resilience in an Aging Society: Risks and Opportunities" was the genesis for this book. Ms. Gwyther was the first John Heinz Senate Fellow in Aging and Health in 1993. She served as a member of the health staff of former Senate Majority Leader, George J. Mitchell. In May 2003, she was inducted into the National Academies of Practice as a Distinguished Practitioner in Social Work. Ms. Gwyther has published over 114 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and books, the latest of which, The Alzheimer's Action Plan: A Family Guide(2009) won two consumer health awards and a coveted star rating from the Library Journal.

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From the reviews:

“Provide a wealth of information regarding emerging trends in the area of resilience and aging as well as important insights regarding areas of need for future research. … offer a broad range of material for researchers and other professionals who want to keep abreast of emerging developments in the area of resilience and aging as well as those interested in enhancing their breadth of knowledge regarding the topic.” (Molly M. Perkins, The Gerontologist, Vol. 54 (1), 2014)

“Provides an interesting account of resilience–an important concept with respect to understanding the outcomes of human aging. … Resilience in Aging: Concepts, Research, and Outcomes represents a unique account of the multiple aspects of resilience as they relate to the aging process. … it offers readers ample opportunity to form their own views of this term and of how it may apply to them personally. As such, the book is a valuable addition to the literature on resilience in aging.” (Ross Andel, Journal of the American Medical Association, May, 2011)

“This multiauthored book explores the concept of resilience in old age. … The audience is primarily gerontologists. … This book is timely. It has a thorough discussion of many aspects of the developing concept of resiliency in old age. … Even if the notions of resiliency evolve and change somewhat with time, this seems to be a significant idea in contemporary gerontology, making this book well worth reading.” (David O. Staats, Doody’s Review Service, January, 2010)