Successful Aging and Resilience: Applications for Public Health and Health Care
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The stories of Albert and Patricia are examples of typical older adults in America who have met the challenges of their lives in a variety of ways using their personal and social resources. Older adults like our examples are living longer, yet there is great debate whether extended life expectancies translate into more quality years. Diversity within the aging population is widely recognized (Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics 2008), and scientists are diligently working to identify concepts to help us understand the aging processes and the experiences of older adults in a rapidly aging society. Among the factors contributing to the diversity seen in aging trajectories are patterns of responses to challenges experienced throughout the lifespan. In this chapter, we discuss the concepts of successful aging and resilience using the experiences of our fictitious characters, Albert and Patricia. First, we describe successful aging and the contribution of resilience to the process of successful aging. Second, we give examples of public health and health care interventions that may enhance resilience in ways that promote healthy aging among older adults. 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.