Zaynab D’Elia, PhD, is a Distinguished Core Professor at National University, San Diego, USA. She has been privileged to study under some classic psychologists from the Golden Age of counseling, such as Carl Rogers, Viktor Frankl, and Albert Ellis. In the decades since, she has been involved as a psychotherapist, family counselor, prison reform psychologist, and most recently served on hospice and palliative care teams. Freshly trained in narrative therapy, some of her current research focuses are moral disengagement, healthy aging, and stress and resilience in health care workers. Dr. D’Elia divides her time between work and research in Canada and in the Middle East.
Resilience in Ageing: What can we learn?
The world is facing an ageing population, with 1.4 billion individuals estimated to be over 60 by 2030, compared to 1 billion in 2020 (AARP, 2021). How we enable health and happiness in this population will increasingly impact mental health on the individual, family, and societal levels in the 21st century. Perhaps for this reason, the United Nations has named 2021-2030, the Decade of Healthy Ageing (https://www.decadeofhealthyageing.org/). Prompted by this emphasis on the needs of this segment of society, and by an increasing awareness of the lack of scholarly information in understanding how to support these individuals, research in this area has been increasing.
One of the goals of such research, and indeed of the UN initiatives, as been to identify ways to increase physical and mental health in the ageing population. In addition to combating ageism and elder abuse (Mikton et al., 2022), research aims at establishing evidence-based practices to improve physical health, including increased mobility and better nutrition, and exploring options for the older person to weave into a social web of support has been identified as a viable approach. Invigorating individuals in the later decades of life has an impact on their self-esteem, and helps them return to being a powerful force in their families and societies.
This presentation will present research and discuss initiatives being taken to support the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of our elders. In addition, in accordance with the latest UN directives, we will examine what we can learn from the ageing population. Specifically, we will look at the issue of resilience amongst older persons, especially women, how this has been developed, how it endures, and what we as a society can learn from our resilient elders.
AARP International and FP Analytics (2021). Innovation and Leadership in Healthy Aging. Retrieved from www.AARPinternational.org/resources/healthy-aging
Mikton, C., Campo-Tena, L., Yon, Y., Beaulieu, M., & Shawar, Y. R. (2022). Factors shaping the global political priority of addressing elder abuse: a qualitative policy analysis. The Lancet Healthy Longevity, 3(8), E531-E539, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2666-7568(22)00143-X.