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Kendal at Home Blog

Resiliency Helps Older Adults Face Life’s Challenges

Posted by Lynne Giacobbe on December 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM

older adults resiliencyHave you ever wondered why some people bounce back from disaster while others don’'t? The determining factor is resiliency, says Steven Southwick, a professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and co-author of the book “Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’'s Greatest Challenges.” 

What is Resilience? 

Resilience is defined by the American Psychological Association as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress – such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.” Southwick found that while resiliency stems from a complex association of genetic, psychological, biological, social and spiritual factors unique to each individual, people can learn to be more resilient. People have the potential to teach themselves how to bounce back from adversity. 

After studying the impact of severe trauma for 20 years, Steven and his colleagues became intrigued by the source of resiliency. At the start of their study, Southwick said in a Huffington Post blog he and his colleagues expected resiliency to be a rare characteristic. They were stunned to discover that it is actually quite common. By learning to harness stress, the researchers also found that people could increase their resiliency. 

The 10 factors that affect resiliency: 

  1. Optimism
  2. Flexibility
  3. Well-defined core value system
  4. Faith
  5. Positive role models
  6. Social support
  7. Physical fitness
  8. Cognitive strength
  9. Ability to face fears
  10. Ability to find meaning in life'’s struggles 

Southwick believes that optimism and social support are two of the most important factors in people’'s ability to recover from traumatic experiences. Optimism allows you to filter out unproductive negative thoughts, and social support gives you the strength and assistance to overcome your troubles. 

At Kendal Northern Ohio, our Quaker roots allow us to provide our residents and members with the positive atmosphere and strong community support needed to weather difficult times. Download our free guide to understand more about our Quaker Roots, or to learn more about Kendal Northern Ohio, contact us today


Topics: older adults, remaining active, resiliency

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